Friday, August 03, 2007

Myoung Ho Lee's trees

I came across this on Lensculture - When is a Tree Not a Tree, the work of South Korean artist Myoung Ho Lee (longer article here).

Trees have (for obvious reasons, I think) been a staple subject for photographers from the beginning - I think of some of Atget's, or Sommer's or Friedlanders trees for example.

It's certainly an interesting take - as well as an awful lot of work. I do think it is worth looking at - as Lensculture says:
Simple in concept, complex in execution, he makes us look at a tree in its natural surroundings, but separates the tree artificially from nature by presenting it on an immense white ground, as one would see a painting or photograph on a billboard. The work demands thoughtful analysis.

The one problem with this kind of work is that it is indeed so simple in concept that it can actually be spoiled by what comes after. If Myoung Ho Lee goes to just keep taking more and more pictures of trees, or even worse, more pictures of things with big white backdrops, then I think this work will suffer as a consequence. After something like this the artist can sometimes have a hard time reinventing themselves.

Oh, and in a way, it also reminds me of some of the "tree" work of Rodney Graham:

(Last Picture: Rodney Graham)


Edward Richards said...

For a minute I thought he was putting huge prints of trees in the landscape. That would have been much more interesting.

Unknown said...

I thought there was a N-American nat-Geo affiliated photog who did exactly that, as well as climbing into trees to photograph another one next to it. I could be wrong about who dunnit, but that whole backdrop-and-real-tree thing does not come as news to me.

Anonymous said...

Lens Culture is showing another photographic take on trees -- including a 360 degree dizzying animation made up of 120 still photos circumnavigating the same tree.