Urban Forest: Images of Trees in the Human Landscape

Overview

Beyond their esthetic and utilitarian importance, urban trees seem to fill a deeper human need. Perhaps they are reminders of the inexorable cycles of the natural world. Perhaps they serve as eddies and rills of slowness and sureness within the frantic rush of our urban environment.
For more than two decades, photographer David Paul Bayles has been making images of trees in cities and suburbs—places of tension, as he puts it, between "what we build and what we grow." This ...

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Overview

Beyond their esthetic and utilitarian importance, urban trees seem to fill a deeper human need. Perhaps they are reminders of the inexorable cycles of the natural world. Perhaps they serve as eddies and rills of slowness and sureness within the frantic rush of our urban environment.
For more than two decades, photographer David Paul Bayles has been making images of trees in cities and suburbs—places of tension, as he puts it, between "what we build and what we grow." This beautifully designed and produced volume showcases his extraordinary vision of urban trees and their often precarious, sometimes triumphant place in the human landscape.

Initially drawn to his subject by "the balance and harmony and beauty between the manmade structure and the tree," Bayles has also found and photographed plenty of imbalance and human folly along the way. His images are laconic, almost deadpan, yet at the same time infused with irony, humor, and compassion. They avoid the easy trap of politicization, allowing and encouraging each of us to see the relationship between humankind and trees—in all of its complexity—for ourselves.
This much is certain: Those who delve into the pages of this remarkable book will never again look at the trees around them in quite the same way.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The large-format photographs in these two books are technically brilliant in terms of light, composition, tonal range, and detail while also exhibiting a strong thematic approach and a certain artistic sensibility. Bayles, who spent four years as a logger but has been working as a photographer for more than 20 years, emphasizes individual trees overwhelmed by the crush of mindless urbanization. Many of these lone trees have been denuded, cut down, or actually replaced by metal facsimile "trees." There is a certain irony in the title of this book, which has little to do with forests. Instead, Bayles emphasizes a spare landscape-mostly in California-that has already been lost to asphalt and cement. The haunting, unpeopled photographs suggest that neither trees nor people can survive in such an environment. Polish-born photographer Loranc offers a more personal, lyrical view of nature, both in his present-day home in California and in the Central Europe of his childhood. Often made in a diffuse mist or the soft light of dawn or dusk, these landscapes have an atmospheric quality that lends a sense of hopefulness and calm to the work as a whole. Even the photographs that include some hint of human habitation portray a certain harmony with nature. Both books include informative statements from the photographers. Two-Hearted Oak also includes an appreciative foreword from the executive director of the Nature Conservancy of California and a sensitive introduction, afterword, and several poems about the environment by Vallee. Both books are highly recommended, especially for libraries that emphasize environmental subjects and fine art photography.-Raymond Bial, First Light Photography, Urbana, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578050963
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books
  • Publication date: 10/14/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 11.50 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

David Paul Bayles has photographed the human-tree relationship for more than twenty years. His images have appeared in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums throughout the West, and his work is included in numerous public and private collections around the world, including those of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; the Helmut Gernsheim Collection in Lugano, Switzerland; and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Bayles' photographs have also been published in such national periodicals as Architectural Record, Architecture, Outdoor Photographer, Photo Metro, and Photographer's Forum. Images from this book were recently featured in the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Bayles makes his home in southern California.
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