Task 1 – Trees

Trees and their representation in Photography

Trees have had great significance to man for millennia. This reflects in modern day society and since photography is one of the most powerful visual tools to date,


Trees have had great significance to man for millennia, tree significance has varied meanings for different species of trees, take a look at this definition guide Here

Trees in advertising:

Below is a Christmas related advert with a clear use of form and negative space to draw the eye into the image. The sarcastic caption ‘We’re so in the mood for Christmas’ demonstrates the pencil (a different form of a tree) as the Christmas tree which demonstrates a metaphor, questioning the viewer. Below this is this ikea advert for different types of beds incorporated in to a family, this is a good use of advertising by questioning the viewer again and asking them to think around the different types of beds that may be in their families, by linking them all together it is suggesting that ikea beds are ‘where family starts’.

Creative Christmas trees from ad campaign for Publicis Singapore.:


Above is demonstrating the metaphor that by damaging our trees you are also damaging the habit for the animals that live nearby, everything has an effect. In many cultures trees and animals are used for worship, this is an example of how cultures can combine both. The attention to detail and use of shape really caught my eye.

Environmental and political:

By using the majority of the image as the colour green this clearly links with the environment in the viewer’s mind as this is the colour mainly associated with the environment, and this also links well with the company name. The simplistic nature of the individual tree in the centre of the image with negative space around forces the viewer’s eye down the picture and to the question.


Tree Discussion

Below is the image we had to discuss as a group…

Union Jack Flag in Tree, County Tyrone 1985, printed 1993-4 by Paul Graham born 1956

Union Jack Flag in Tree, County Tyrone 1985, printed 1993-4 Paul Graham born 1956 Presented by Tate Members 2007 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P79343

My initial thoughts on first glance of this image was that its just another average landscape shot with poor composition and a pretty mundane aura. However, since we are supposed to be academics I figured I would come up with a crazy, wacky and out of the box response. I decided it could be related to a singular human organism, alone, one of a kind, forever unique and evolving???

Once I had researched into Paul Graham and his series of images I came to a different conclusion. I think he was trying to get the point across that the tree is at one with itself and its environment. I feel it subtly represents a political statement without provoking or antagonising either party in question, depicting we are all equal no matter what ethnic background, religion or beliefs we may have. The flag also coincides with this due to it being a Union Jack, a united alliance of four nations joined as one, I don’t know if it was just a coincidence that particular flag had been placed at the top of the tree, or that he had climbed up and placed it himself, either way I felt it was a fitting addition. I think the negative space completes the image and supports the idea that the tree is singular and isolated within a bigger picture (world/space and time).

Chris, a fellow student, raised a great point by saying that the image could be interpreted as: ‘The tree splits the image in to two halves, which represent the protestants and Catholics on either side. The tree represents the division of the land in which they are fighting over, the flag is basically the cherry on top’. I think he hit the nail on the head, this is a great example of how subjective images are and how individuals read images in contrast to others.

Since we are discussing ‘Trees’ I figured it only right to throw a magnificent example of a proper tree in the mix. Below is a 3,200 year old sequoia tree known as the ‘President’, coming in at 247-foot-tall it was thought to have been the largest unrecorded tree in the world.

The image was taken by National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols and his army of a team, made up of scientist’s, photographers and climbing experts.
It is a perfect example of how small and insignificant humans are on the grand scale of things. The image was created using multiple cameras and made up of many images joined together, Hockney eat your heart out!


Three members of the team just hanging around to show scale.

A team of scientists measure a giant sequoia, called the President.

The final outcome of the ‘President’ in all its glory, 126 images total.


Check out the below video to get a better sense of how the image was created:


My Tree Response to the Paul Graham discussion:

I felt as though the image I have chosen is fitting to Paul Graham’s example. I think he was trying to say that it’s not about the subject matter of the image, but how we as individuals have completely different ways of interpreting the subtle hidden meanings within an image. No conclusion or opinion is right, it’s about getting the viewer engaged and making them question themselves.


Tree Or Not To Tree? (2016) Great Langdale, Ambelside

I wanted my image to appear as one composition embodying two, an image within an image. Having a single light source leads the viewer’s eye straight to a focal point, and once there my aim was to keep them engaged. The tree splits the image down the middle and gives the impression of two sides, the contrast in colours from the white and red supports this idea well. I framed this composition in this way due to the light conditions I had at hand, and also due to the fact I had not taken a tripod with me so knew I would have to handhold the camera. The Lake District has very little light pollution so it makes a great place for night photography; I decided I would work the situation to my advantage by using complete darkness to represent my negative space.

My image was taken at around 11pm on Saturday 30/01/2016; the location was a campsite in Great Langdale, Ambleside (BaysBrown Farm Campsite). The subject matter is the torso of a tree positioned centrally in front of the campsites shower block, or is it?

f/4.5, 5 sec, ISO 100