In 300 years, every last tree will be gone. But there is still time to do something about it.
This project is based on the premise that images can serve a purpose in their ability to capture attention and communicate a full and complete message in one instant. The intention behind this photo collection is not to directly attack the majority who benefit from the use of wood – the pictures inside are not dramatic depictions of tragically ruined forests or scattered log piles in a desolate landscape. Instead, its emphasis is directed toward the aesthetic qualities of living trees, relying on the use of images to engage the eye. Despite the immeasurable importance of trees, their constant presence makes them easy to forget, and they have become a part of life’s backdrop. The purpose of this small book is to bring trees out from the background and up to the forefront before it is too late – to amplify a sense of urgency that trees themselves cannot communicate – “we are here, but not forever”.
The work I’ve done for my final project this semester has been both a struggle and a pass time. There have been days when several images tun out great, while others have yielded hardly any decent results at all. There have also been many hybrid days, where the work is a struggle but the reward is notable. Sometimes, photos come out well completely by mistake, while other times images that I have been planning in my head for days turn out to be impossible to achieve in reality.
Regardless of the difficulties (and fun) that I have experienced, I have realized that the subject of trees is something that I can see myself digging deeper into in the future. I can sense that the work I have been doing this semester is still unrefined, as if there is something more that I could be doing given the enthusiasm that I’ve come to realize that I have for making tree-related images. It’s weird that I hadn’t really caught on to it sooner, but now that I have, perhaps my enjoyment for it will grow into a honed purpose. I don’t doubt that at some point I will get into something else as a photographic subject, but for now I’ll find it difficult to ignore my “tree phase” now that I know I’m going through it, and I’ll probably be conscious of it every time I photograph a tree.
Although I feel that my project could stand to be more focused, I also feel that – at least internally – I have a clearer purpose than what might come across given my current progress with the project. I, like many, want to have the ability to use imagery to not only communicate my message, but to grab attention and alert viewers to the existence of a problem. As I’ve shared previously, trees will essentially become extinct within a few hundred years given the current rate of human consumption. My original intention was to bring attention to this fact through words, but my project has since morphed into image-based communication. Hopefully the message of the finished project will be as effective as I am able to make it.