Nearly all of the Portals exhibition pictures are of trees. So I think a word of two of explanation is needed.
Why trees and what is their significance to me?
The great woodworker George Nakashima says in his book The Soul of a Tree:
‘Then, when I am there, feeling at one with the trees and space around me it’s easy to feel the trees with soul.
A tree sits like an avatar, an embodiment of the immutable, far beyond the pains of man.’
Sometimes, when I am alone with them, I feel the trees with soul. Some trees speak more clearly than others. When I’m in Western Sweden I’ve discovered that there are a lot of Scots Pine (Tall in Swedish). They’re special trees that usually hide deep in the forests on small rocky outcrops. Here are a couple of pictures of one of my favourites sitting ‘like an avatar’ in its own space.
Äsperöd Gnarly Tree (Tall)
Äsperöd Gnarly Trees
I’ve visited this particular tree often in the autumn. At sunset the light dips across the forest catching the branches in a kaleidoscope of fractured shards. Here it’s turned into a dark archway: spanning the forest floor. Inviting you to stand beneath it.
Äsperöd Sunset Archway
But it’s easiest to photograph it when the sky is overcast or just after the sun has set. That is when you get the images to help uncover its character. There’s no sharp contrasts to distract the eye and it becomes a giant being with arms reaching high above you.
Äsperöd: Giant Tree Being
Äsperöd Tree Being: Waiting
Or, and this last picture is my favourite, it’s inviting you to pass between the old exposed tree stumps as it waits – poised, balanced, almost expectant – for you to come before it.