“The week before Trula died, she began spending entire days reclined in her field. Her body would be so still we’d come up closer to be sure she hadn’t left us. A slight movement of her head chasing a loose swallow, or a finger grazing a plucked blade of grass was enough. Tuesday night she had come into the kitchen after a particularly long 12 hours in her field. Her hair disheveled like a bird nest. She looked at a rhubarb stalk on the table and said to us “all this time I’ve never seen the flowers growing, but they’re taller every morning.” - Paul Guilmoth
Paul Guilmoth’s At Night Gardens Grow is an elegy to a queer world that rests between the personal landscapes of home, and the ubiquitous terrains of identity. At Night Gardens Grow is about the island it was created on, just as much as it’s about the interior worlds we carry with us. Combining carefully crafted large-format photographs with more impulsive documentary photographs, Guilmoth moves through the found and fabricated landscapes of somewhere that’s never quite fixed or distinguished, but palpably familiar.
These photographs have one foot in modern America and the other in a land of the past—haunted by the ghosts of lived experience, family, and the land we inhabit. Any clear sense of locality is lost in favour of a more fluid and universal language of symbols and stories. A duality exists in this place that has both a desire to preserve, and an instinct to shed its skin, exposing a burgeoning folkloric force at work beneath its surface.
From baptisms, monuments of spider-silk, funerals, house-fires, holes carved in rock, and birth: At Night Gardens Grow is about stories that are as fragile as the world they’re built on.
This book is for Trula Drinkard-Goolsby, who died on July 17th, 2021 after one last day laying in the field.