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Among Trees

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Overview

Photographs at once stark and lush, tranquil and vibrant, dramatic and contemplative—forests full of surprise.

For photographer Sean Kernan, Among Trees was born out of the simple act of photographing the groves and forests he saw as he worked, traveled, and lived in the world. As the shape of the work emerged, he began to wander further in search of these visions made of trees and light. After many years, he has collected these remarkable photographs and gained insight into the...

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Overview

Photographs at once stark and lush, tranquil and vibrant, dramatic and contemplative—forests full of surprise.

For photographer Sean Kernan, Among Trees was born out of the simple act of photographing the groves and forests he saw as he worked, traveled, and lived in the world. As the shape of the work emerged, he began to wander further in search of these visions made of trees and light. After many years, he has collected these remarkable photographs and gained insight into the way that art takes us deep inside ourselves at the very same time that it calls us out into our world.

The fundamental act of seeing changed and enriched the photographer, just as the photographs in Among Trees will lead readers on a journey of their own.

This book is an invitation to experience all the anticipated pleasures of walking in the woods, the spiritual qualities of the deep forests, the near-operatic dramas of nature, our human connections with the natural world. As author Anthony Doerr writes in his introduction, "It is my hope that you turn the pages of this book and see something of the thousand landscapes around us—to imagine not only what is inside Kernan's frams, but outside them as well." Because Among Trees is not so much about leafing through pictures of interesting and beautiful trees as it is about being among trees and coming to see our world and ourselves differently.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
The great nineteenth-century American preacher and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher called them "tabernacles of the air." They were depicted as soaring colossi on luminous canvases by the likes of Thomas Cole, and their virtues -- stately posture, rapid growth, a lofty crown of verdure, and a habit of forming cathedral-like groves -- were celebrated by Hawthorne and Thoreau and by such esteemed visitors as Dickens and Trollope. Taken together, they were perhaps New England's, and America's, most famous citizens: the leafy representatives of Ulmus americana, the American elm, a tree that for a few hundred years defined the American landscape and that an awestruck French naturalist once described as "the most magnificent vegetable of the temperate zone." In Thomas J. Campanella's edifying Republic of Shade, the mighty elm -- whose dominance as America's favorite tree was toppled by the devastating epidemic of Dutch-elm disease that began in 1931 -- rises again, as Campanella explores the history of the plant that launched an entire nation of Elm Streets.

Campanella points out that New York City was once famous for its lush, tree-lined avenues. In the photographer Sean Kernan's arresting Among Trees, New York's trees appear as boulevardiers decked out in Christmas lights. Kernan traversed the planet in search of tangled roots and dappled canopies, and his photographs frame trees as peaceful neighbors of the earth's human residents: palms arch into the Los Angeles twilight, and an unidentified specimen shares plaza space with an elderly Segovian gent. Kernan also plays with scale: a row of Tuscan poplars, sizable by human standards, is dwarfed by an electrical tower.

(Mark Rozzo)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579652227
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,380,910
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 11.62 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean Kernan is a photographer, lecturer, and writer. He runs a very successful commercial studio with clients that include ATT, Microsoft, The New York Times Magazine, Random House, Scribners, and Harcourt. His studio does all the photography for the direct mail catalog Exposures. His work has also appeared in magazines and in galleries and museums such as the Whitney. Kernan lives in Connecticut.

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