Since August 13th, the Tree of Life photograph has been viewed more half a million times on Facebook and Instagram. It’s been shared more than a quarter of a million times.
For an artist, that kind of exposure is a good thing. Unfortunately, the photograph has also been taken and used without permission and in contexts that I personally find offensive and objectionable, especially when promulgating religious beliefs that I do not subscribe to.
This article and my August 13th Facebook post are the only authorized versions of the Tree of Life photograph. I will continue to politely ask that all other versions be deleted and will continue to pursue legal actions whenever necessary. Hopefully people will realize they’ve made a mistake and act accordingly.
I am beyond thrilled that the Tree of Life has struck a chord and emotionally resonated with so many people. It is what every artist desires of their work. Needless to say, in this day and age there are always going to be a small minority of people looking for reasons to be outraged. If you don’t like the Tree of Life, you don’t actually have to look at it. Move along. Move along.
The following is all I have to say about the Tree of Life. And the Nude in the Landscape, for that matter.
Artist’s Statement: The Nude in the Landscape
“The Nude in the Landscape series is a body of work that frames the human figure in the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest, from its beaches and shorelines, to its rivers and streams, forests and mountainsides, encompassing every season; Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
The black and white photographs juxtapose the grace and elegance of the female form against the scale and rugged grandeur of the landscape, contrasting the textures and tones between those two elements, and examining the relationship between the viewer and the subject.
The women portrayed in the series reflect the diverse range of ages, body types and ethnicities found in the shadows of the North Shore Mountains of Vancouver, and along the shoreline of the Georgia Strait. They represent our small corner of the world.
Like the seasons of the Landscape, the subjects of the photographs illustrate the seasons in a woman’s life, Maiden, Mother and Crone.
Within the Nude in the Landscape oeuvre, three main themes have emerged. Some of the images of the subjects are sculptural compositions of shape and form, others are unobserved, emotionally intimate portraits, and in many cases, the body seems to coalesce and merge with the landscape, making it difficult to determine where one element begins and the other ends.
None of the subjects in the series makes eye contact with the viewer. And many of the photos have an air of isolation about them.
Regardless of the thread that the subjects reflect in the tapestry that forms the series, there is an air of mystery to the subjects that is to me, as a man and the image maker, inherently feminine.
The subjects are both unknowable to me and unattainable. The image that I make is but a fleeting impression of what was reflected to me for the briefest of moments. A tiny instant, a fraction of time, is frozen and then, swiftly, quickly gone. The photographs are remnant shards of the ephemeral and the ethereal.
The Nude in the Landscape series is in part my desire, my wanting to illuminate and celebrate, the untamed, wild aspect of a woman’s spirit, her character and nature.
Too much of modern life and modern culture and modern religion wants to sublimate, moderate and yes, ‘tame’ those very qualities in a woman that I think are essential to her true self.
Women are strong, fierce and indomitable, inherently sensual, sexual and physical beings.
Shooting nudes in the landscape hopefully allows me to record – for I could never truly ‘capture’ a wild woman – some of the aspects of that wild feminine spirit, the divine feminine. Women unfettered by the clothes, the rags and the remnants of the ‘civilizing’ forces and symbols of modernity, symbols that often act and work as shackles. Shackles of body shame, shackles of body stigma and shackles that repress the feminine spirit.
For many of my subjects, shedding their clothes is like shedding their shackles. Nudity is a way for them to take back their physical bodies for themselves, to reclaim their body. Nudity is a form of freedom from oppressive conformity. The nude body is free of class distinctions, social status or rank. To be nude is to be yourself. Nudity is freedom.”
Links to original and uncensored examples of my work:
As I’m at Facebook’s maximum allowed “Friends”, you can also follow my work on Instagram.
I AM FLATTERED BY THE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE INSPIRED TO SHARE MY PHOTOGRAPH. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE OR USE THE IMAGE WITHOUT MY EXPRESS PERMISSION. THANK YOU!
Any other use of this photograph is strictly forbidden and will result in immediate legal action for copyright violation and misappropriation of intellectual property