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The oldest known single living organism on the earth is said to be a Great Basin bristlecone pine (pinus longaeva) living in the White Mountains of California. It’s age is estimated at a little over 5,000 years. Trees have endured through every kind of catastrophe imaginable. . Now that human activity is dramatically reducing forest and jungle we’re beginning to understand just how vital a role they play maintaining the viability of life. Forests of all kinds have been called “the lungs of the world”. They’re essential to the earth’s carbon cycle, taking in carbon dioxide, storing the carbon, and releasing oxygen to the atmosphere. In addition, people have depended on them for all manner of uses, from heating dwellings and cooking food to providing everything from canoes to cashews. Little wonder, then, that trees were worshipped as gods in some ancient societies.
As photographers we look at trees, either in number or individually. They’re often an essential part of a photograph, either as objects of beauty when they’re the subject of an image, or as useful “props” for framing a scene. They’re convenient “models” for the camera, since they can be found in most environments on land – even in our biggest cities.
For this exhibition we’re extending the challenge to you to photograph a tree, or thousands of trees, in your own unique vision. Do you see the joy of green and vigorous trees providing summer shade, a lonely oak or maple bare of leaves and enduring a harsh northern winter, or the tragedy (or profit) in the harvest of trees for wood products or paper? Here in Vermont we enjoy an annual autumn spectacular, the changing of the landscape from green to vivid shades of yellow, red, and orange. How do the trees in your part of the world change through the seasons and through their life spans?
We’re presenting Trees in conjunction with The Essex Tree Committee (www.essexjunction.org/boards/tree-advisory-committee/) which promotes and cares for our trees in public places in the town of Essex, VT.