Loving Elderly Couple Took Photo Together in Same Spot Every Month Until Wife’s Tragic Passing

In An English Country Garden by Ken Griffiths Married Life Photo Series

In 1964, noted New Zealand-born, British-based photographer Ken Griffiths inadvertently captured the realities of loss and love through his series, In An English Country Garden. Featuring monthly photos of an elderly married couple posed in their front yard, the touching series concluded with the beloved wife's heartbreaking passing.

Like many other works by Griffiths, who worked for newspapers, in advertising, and as a portraitist, In An English Country Garden offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of ordinary people. In this case, his subjects are the Sweetmans, a loving couple living in Three Cups Corner, East Sussex. Every month, Griffiths would photograph the pair as they posed in their cottage garden.

For the first 11 photos, the only discernible differences evident from photograph to photograph are the seasons, as made apparent by shifts in weather and changes in plant-life. Still, no matter the time of year, Mr. Sweetman is shown standing on on the left, and Mrs. Sweetman on the right. This, however, changed in the last photograph, when Mrs. Sweetman is noticeably absent—implying, tragically, that she has died.

Though the piece was first published in The Sunday Times Magazine in March of 1964, it has remained an important piece of Griffith's legacy, noted for the quaint charm of its aesthetic and the unexpected poignancy of its subject matter.

In his series In an English Garden, photographer Ken Griffiths documents the love and loss of married life.

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h/t: [Vintage Everyday]

All images via Kenneth Griffiths.

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.

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