To the Tree: a Photographic Paean
The tree, as early as I can remember, impressed me as being the tallest plant around, that acquired its qualities from being useful, i.e. providing shade, oxygen, bloom, fruit and wood.
What I wish to illustrate and discuss here, based on my photographs, is the expressive value of the tree, i.e. how it contributes by its sheer presence to the perceptual experience of sites and/or situations … all in a light mode!
Between lake and woods, there is nothing like a flowering tree to bring them together … photographically that is.
When a simulated mountain clearing visually needed an anchor, nothing like a specimen tree to fulfill the need.
When urban row housing dwellers need privacy, there is nothing like a row of trees to draw attention away from the buildings.
When the moon seems so far away, two trees mounting the guard over a picnic shed will help visually reach for it.
When moon and street light visually need a mid-distance marker, photographically, tree branches will bring it all together.
When a quiet pond needs something to reflect off it, the tree is always happy to oblige.
When the overhead sky feels distant and monotonous, trees will be happy to hold their branches across its barren extent.
When trees gather to keep company, benches and people will usually follow.
Let us do what is necessary to keep the trees from burning by the millions.
Credit all photos to Maurice Amiel
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maurice Amiel, M. Arch. (U.C. Berkeley) is retired professor of Environmental Design at the School of Design, University of Quebec at Montreal, where he was involved mainly in environment-behaviour teaching and applied research projects. In order to promote environmental awareness, he has turned after retiring to documenting and writing about various physical and human agents contributing to a sense of self, place and sociability ... I wish to add to my interests the fundamental role of light in photography and the visual structure of all 2D forms of artwork.