Photography: Anne Geene
Text: Anne Geene, Tim De Mey
Design cover: Vincent van Baar
Book of the month – November 2021
In the book ‘Plot No. 235 / Encyclopaedia of an allotment’, as a quasi-scientist, Anne Geene recorded with her camera everything that grows and blooms in a demarcated piece of land in an allotment garden in Rotterdam. Plants and animals, large and small, on and under the ground, in the water and in the air.
Like a biologist, she collected, ordered, categorized and identified everything, both living and dead material. At first the book looks serious until you come across something like a collection of curled up leaves, dried woodlice, raindrops on a window, passers-by (dogs) or duckweed on a ditch in the shape of a map. Then it gets hilarious.
As in a real determination book, the photos are arranged schematically, with the subject at the top of the page and the indication fig. below the photos with a number within the relevant paragraph. At the back of the book are salt prints of dried plants as if it were a 19th century herbarium. It immediately evokes memories of Anna Atkins, who in 1843 was the first to capture a collection of plants using a photographic technique, the cyanotype.
We also see this quasi-scientific approach in Salvo, a collective formed by Anne Geene, Arjan de Nooy, Sander Uitdehaag and Vincent van Baar. Since 2012, they have enjoyed making publications together on photographic themes such as frame, pixel, movement and scale, using both existing images and their own photos. The retrospective exhibition 'Nothing. Click. Everything' by Salvo is on show until December 4, 2021. Just as hilarious as the publications.
The book 'Plot No. 235, Encyclopaedia of an allotment garden' was published by HEF and is in the library of the Pennings Foundation. The English edition is still for sale (€ 28,90).