2001–2004 · 24 Tree Studies for Henry David Thoreau

Holownia’s studies are akin to sylvan portraiture in their depiction of the trees as individuals. Attention to detail captures the surface textures like skin and reveals scars, dark recesses of a hollow trunk and eccentric profiles as illustrations of a personal history. The audacious gesture of using the banquet camera vertically results in a truncation of the image which is visually arresting, compositionally in keeping with the portrait tradition. The face of the tree which we see in these studies shows traces of certain environmental issues which we can’t see, but which the photographer invites us to explore. His images transcend our powers of visual observation, as both Carleton Watkins and Henry David Thoreau attempted to do, revealing other events in the passage of time.

Martin Shopland
Photography & Trees, From picturesque to personal
Walden Pond Revisited
Corkin Gallery, Toronto