Musings on Photography


Posted in local color by Paul Butzi on December 23, 2006

This is a view of what my car looked like for several days – all the ordinary stuff shoved forward (see dog bowl, tennis ball throwing device, etc.) and the wayback filled with chainsaw stuff. I spent a lot of time cutting up downed trees.

This is a view of the scene that’s now where the image from this post was made. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but this is a pretty big area where essentially ALL the trees came down. It’s just a huge tangled mess on the ground. To really convey some sense of the carnage, I need to find a way to photograph from a higher vantage. I’m working on that.

It’s really hard to get photographs that convey the scope of the destruction, not only because what was once an orderly, visually appealing forest scene is now just a tangled heap, but also because it was a spot that was one of my favorites, and it’s surprisingly hard to go back and photograph.

I had expressed that sense of loss and difficulty in even confronting the scene to Ed Richards, who has photographed post-Katrina New Orleans area extensively. His advice, which I think is pretty insightful, is that part of art is dealing with stuff like this. So, as time permits (I’ve been pretty busy) I’ll be out there with the camera, trying to capture not just the destruction of this forest but also how it develops from here.
One little anecdote… I was working helping a neighbor clear the driveway to his building site. I figure there were well over 100 trees across the drive. We had just cleared a stretch the previous day, and there was a huge tangle of cut up trees on the side of the road. I went back the next morning to get started, and caught a little movement out of the corner of my eye – a large number of little wrens were flitting about inside the tangle. Sure, to me it was a tangle of destroyed trees. To the wrens, it was a maze of protected little spots, just right for little birds to be safe from bird-eating predators.

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  1. Gordon said, on December 23, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    Maybe the wrens have it right. You just have to look at it in a different way.

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