That Tree – A Year in the Life of a Tree

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I recently came across this project carried out by Mark Hersch where he has taken a different picture of this tree every day for a year between 24 March 2012 and 23 March 2013, the results of which are published in the book That Tree. The tree is a bur oak standing alone in a field in Platteville, Wisconsin that Mark, a photographer, passed every day on his commute to work.

I’ve always liked photo series that look at a particular place or space over a period of time and was something that I was experimenting with when I wrote this post on the Leeds Dalek. I think what fascinates me is that a photograph is an individual snapshot in time but that when that snapshot is repeated over a period the photos as well as capturing stillness also capture the imperceptible movement of time and the changes of the seasons. Movement that ordinarily cannot be seen happening is therefore captured through stillness.

Mark’s series of the tree does this brilliantly I think but also differs from what I usually like in that he has sought to capture this movement through stillness, not in taking the same image but in using one object, the tree, and shooting it from all sorts of different angles and perspectives, the results of which I think are really beautiful and contemplative.

Although Mark is a professional photographer the photos were all taken using a camera phone, an iphone in his case, which is what many of us novice clickers use for capturing the world around us and I think the series and book goes to show how powerful this medium and technology now is.

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