Monday, October 13, 2008

Artist Statement


We all travel the milky way together, trees and men; but it never occurred to me until this stormday, while swinging in the wind, that trees are travelers, in the ordinary sense. They make many journeys, not extensive ones, it is true; but our own little journeys, away and back again, are only little more than tree wavings many of them not so much.

-John Muir

I began my own journey several years ago when I decided to become a photographer. Why photography? Because as Ansel Adams once said photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communication, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution. In much the same way John Muir wrote about nature, I pay homage to nature in my own way and through my own medium.

Why trees specifically? Among archetypal images, the tree is one of the most widely known symbols on Earth. There are few cultures in which the divinity or sacredness of a tree or trees does not figure: as an image of the cosmos, as a dwelling place of gods or spirits, as a medium of prophecy and knowledge, and as an agent of metamorphoses when the tree is transformed into human or divine form or when it bears a divine or human image as its fruit or flowers. The natural divinity of trees, their fruit, the shelter they afford from the sun or bitter winds, their green leafy mystery, the sense of protection and consolation they bestow, is felt universally around the world among all cultures, religions and peoples.

Lastly, Why stormdays? I like to photograph in "conditions"; mist, rain, snow, etc., where distracting backgrounds are eliminated or subdued. Sunshine and blue sky have never appealed to me. Too much light tends to reveal all the details of a scene and I am not interested in a perfect photocopy. I prefer suggestion over description. Perhaps it took a stormy day for John Muir to have an epiphany about our cosmic connection with trees. The world is pretty chaotic, seemingly speeding up and getting louder and more visually dense. I am interested in finding and/or creating calm shelters from the “storm,” places where quiet solitude is encouraged and inner contemplation is possible. I hope my work can do just that – encourage people to contemplate life and its sublime beauty. The kind of beauty that sometimes can only be found on a stormday. I do not worship trees, but perhaps in a way I worship through them. I look forward to the times in life when I can escape to a favorite tree and like Muir, look, listen and join the trees in their hymns and prayers.

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