Trees and the Depths of Nature (Landscape and Modernity: Series 4)

The Morning News has another stunning series of landscape photographs on display and another chance to reflect on the intersection of landscapes, nature, and technology. It's possible that each of those words should be in quotes--one point brought up by previous commenters in this Landscape and Modernity Series (the West; the pasture; the A-bomb) --to suggest better the implications of defining them. Perhaps so.


Myoung Ho Lee: Tree # 3, Archival Ink-jet print on paper, 100x80cm, 2006

These images are by Myoung Ho Lee, whose work you can find and purchase at Lens Culture. Mike Smith, who interviewed the artist at TMN, introduced it like this:

In this series, "TREE," the "photography-act" is more than a click. The canvas that frames each tree is there by human design, turning the object into a subject, pulling it out of the landscape.

Except to say that I'm most taken by the way the set-up for the pictures skews depth, flattening the canvas of the tree by use of an actual canvas behind it, and that doing so convolutes all manner of assumptions about the ways we use technologies to mediate our perceptions of non-human nature, I'll leave the reposted pics below without undue annotation.


Tree #12


Tree # 11


Tree #8


Okay, one annotation: this last one is my favorite, though for reasons other than aesthetic elegance alone. It was not in the series proper, but available at the artist's website. It is a photograph capturing the staging of the canvas itself, a picture of the set-up to making a picture ("Tree #3" at the top of this page). And that picture, Tree #3, is itself is a human representation of what was a tree, but now stands as something pulled from its landscape and redefined.

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Ben, these are stunning. They almost have a trompe d'oeil "fooled you" effect to them, trees matted, then bordered by an impressive canvas, until you realize that the border is actually the world extending outside of the frame. Very cool. Michael

Trees are behemoths of biomass and beauty.