Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In the end, everything returns to the earth

This photomontage is my second attempt to tell a story about my connection to a certain sugar maple tree. The first attempt was my last blog entry. You can see it by scrolling down or by clicking here: photograph with accompanying essay.  While the first image is visually accurate, it does not connect to the complex array of memories and emotions that this tree brings to life in me. Hence, my second attempt: the collage that you see above, which merges 15 different photographs, some taken for this project and some from the past.

I took several photographs of different trunks which had fallen off the sugar maple tree and were strewn around in various degrees of decomposition. To me they represents various stages of life. One of the trunks (seen at the bottom left of the collage) is turning to compost, ready to support lady slippers and maple flowers producing new life, while the leaves (on the bottom right) represent the obvious, the autumn of life.  Likewise, the photo on the left of me as a young child present the spring of life while the current self portrait represents again, the autumn of life.

Along the top half of the collage I wanted to show the stages of the old maple's life. Not having old photos of this tree, I took photographs of other maple trees which, in my mind's eye, looked like my old maple, going back in time, at various times of the year.

Finally, I needed a way to make a transition from the forest floor to the towering maples above. I chose to use photographs taken of stonewalls from elsewhere on my property; they not only fit seamlessly into the scene but are appropriate since I used to build them.

I merged three photographs of stonewalls in various degrees of disarray to show a progression from the rigid order of civilization to the flowing entropy of Mother Nature. Or, to put it differently: to show in the end that everything returns to the earth.
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