Tag Archives: White Trees

Yin and Yang

Black Trees, Series 3, No. 1

Black Trees, Series 3, No. 1

If you’re reading this blog post, you may be familiar with my White Trees series of images.  I began that series back around 2012, when what had been a two-steps-forward, one-step-back interest in photography turned more serious.  The White Trees photographs began as part of a learning exercise designed to get me out into the landscape to photograph, and then to use the resulting captures in an interpretive and expressive process of image-making.  The basic concept behind the White Trees images are very white trees against relatively dark backgrounds.  I”m happy to report the White Trees project is ongoing, with new images continuously in development.

Over the years I’ve been working on the White Trees concept, I’ve produced a great many captures that, for one reason or another, are not suitable for the project.  Often, they end up making otherwise great images, and many of those images have become completed works in their own right that are now on this website.  After working with these “offshoots” of the White Trees project for awhile, I came to realize that a number of these images had their own hallmark characteristic – very dark trees against relatively lighter backgrounds.

And so, a new project has been born, the Black Trees project.  In truth, I already had been working with the Black Trees concept in other settings, and so a Black Trees Series 1 and a Black Trees Series 2 already exist.  However, I have not used the trees from the White Trees project as subjects for the Black Trees concept before, which makes a difference. So, I’m starting a new Black Trees Series 3.  I think it makes a nice complement to the White Trees project, kind of a yang to the White Trees’ yin.

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Series and Numbers

White Trees, Series 3, No. 1

White Trees, Series 3, No. 1

Sometimes, I’m asked why I don’t get more creative with the titles to my images.  For example, the title for the image in this post, “White Trees, Series 3, No. 1,” probably wouldn’t be considered as being particularly inspired or creative.

There’s a reason for that.  I’m a firm believer in the idea that the value of a photograph should come strictly from within the four corners of the image itself.  I generally feel that when you supply a photograph with supplementary information – such as a creative title, explanatory text, a bio of the photographer, etc. – that at best such information distracts from the impact of the image itself, and at worst it becomes a crutch to prop up an otherwise weak image.

Having a mundane title is like an informational dead end for the viewer.  There’s nothing there for the viewer to latch on to.  Attention is directed back to the photograph itself, and the image stands or fails on its own merits.

For those who are curious, I’ve divided the White Trees images into three (so far) series based on location.  Series 1 was photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park, Series 2 at the Mount Goliath Natural Area, and Series 3 at the Windy Ridge Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area, all in Colorado.  Within each series, photographs are numbered in the order I work on and finish them, not in the order they were captured.

But of course, to keep things interesting, even I break my own rules.  That’s why the Series 1 images indeed each do have a more descriptive title.  There just was something about the trees at the Rocky Mountain National Park location that made me see them as having human characteristics, and I named them accordingly.  You can see the names in the White Trees gallery on this website if you’re interested.

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