For the next exhibition at Lafayette City Center in Boston Downtown Crossing that will follow "The Visual Metric," I've been thinking of an exhibit called "Tree Talk". (The title may change when I see the photographs as an ensemble). While it sounds a bit spiritual, and it can be to some, for me it is about gesture, sound, perception, strength, shelter, spirit, wisdom, perseverance, age, metaphor, utility, majesty, home, boundaries, disease and more. Your imaginations will surprise me, I'm sure.
I spent all day yesterday pulling together this submission to the Tree Talk call by Paula Tognarelli, the Executive Director and Curator at the Griffin Museum of Photography. Selected photographs will be on display at the Lafayette Civic Center in Downtown Boston. There is no entry fee.
It took a lot of time because the first thing I had to do was go back to the past two years worth of photographs and tag tree photographs with the keywords "tree" and "trees." This, of course, allowed me to gather all my tree photographs together in one place. Some 700 plus.
Then I had to sort through the 700 plus photographs that resulted and flag the ones I felt promising for the submission. Several themes emerged, but almost from the beginning I zeroed in on images of trees reflected in the water. Something about them, mostly shot in fall, with leaves laying on the surface of the water and the trees shimmering in the background saying goodbye? Weeping?
In one case a tree has fallen into the water and lies half submerged. A final act. The water almost seems like the sky. Has the tree fallen into the sky? I didn't think the sky had a surface.
I really like this set of images. They talk to me. I don't know if they will talk to the exhibit curator. It almost doesn't matter. Well it does a little. I would like to be in the exhibit. But I like the set of images and like what they do for me when I look at them. I like that the submission call caused me to put them together.
In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes puts forward a concept he called the punctum. The punctum is a seemingly minor detail that comes to be a major defining element of the picture.
I see a perfect example of that in this picture. Yes, the young woman is beautiful, and she is naked. This is for most men, and many women, an immediate attraction. It is absolutely what we see first. But then, our gaze wanders up to the window and the scene in the distance. A man, a car, the sea.
The man, and then the car is the punctum. Two worlds existing simultaneously. This happening while that is happening. It creates a tension in the photograph that otherwise would not exist. It would simply be a lovely photograph of a lovely young woman.
Ah, but the complexity that enters with that man and his car.
That moment when the rain torrents came, the flooding began and the world was on the brink of war.
This photograph is very visceral to me. I hear the rain. I run with the men in a futile effort to avoid being drenched. But we have to get from A to B, and then to C and so on. No matter the rains. No matter the consequences of our saber rattling.
Found in The Eye of Photography.
There is something magical about this photograph. The slightly nostalgic coloring, the woman standing in the field waiting for something. The balloon hovering in the sky. Her dreams? The expansive sky.
Even without knowing this photograph was taken just before the full eclipse of the sun, we know the moment is pregnant.
Found in Eye of Photography.