Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trees Series.

TREES SERIES, Stills. 2010

Death. Decay. Desiccation. My thoughts these days have turned to the ends of things. Our northeastern linden, elm, maple and oak trees, previously robust and fecund, appear in February to be mort. "Los arboles mueren de pie" -- the trees die on their feet.

But they are not dead. Only dormant. In this state, their stark beauty can be appreciated by those who truly love them for what they are. Keepers of life and resurrection. Superstructures for whole communities. Architecturally perfect eco-urban monoliths.

For "TreeMother," I envisioned a squirrel's-eye-view of what might be a connecting ramp to the suburban superhighway -- the rodentine beltway for the canopy of mature trees in the neighborhood.

For "TreeKnees," the gloriously rough three-dimensional layering of bark in this inverted dual-trunk tree appears to be the mons veneris and knees of an impossibly aged dowager.

For "Self Portrait," I adjusted aperture, ISO and shutter speed to enhance the shadow of the telephone poll, the tree and myself, keeping my arms in so as to hide the silhouette of my camera. Elongated legs and vanishing-point trunk. The pole leans in to the living tree, imagining itself alive again. I stand in the middle, completing a triangular narrative of death and exploitation by human hands. A stiltwalker's trois de deux. 

This project had its start eight years ago, when I photographed mold, lichen and moss on tree bark as my daughter and I X-country skied through nearby woods. I was transfixed by the vibrant blues, greens and aquamarines. A riot of color against bleak snow, brown earth, grey bark and impossibly blue sky. 

On my walk today I spontaneously started imaging lichens again after the 8-year hiatus...and then suddenly stepped back to take in the lines of whole trees.  

What is a tree to a squirrel? Would we even have words for that experience? These images seek to imagine that. Among other things. ###

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