Spinning Trees


W27Sep2017
As autumn returns, I am excited to see fall cascading down from the mountaintops to the valleys. Cool nights bring color to the peaks, a month or more before reaching my home below. Though lacking the saturation of northeast forests, the greater tree diversity gives a nuanced and rich tapestry of colors. As if on cue with the start of fall, leaves are turning and I have started my annual pursuit of fall foliage.

I spent years working in multimedia, with various combinations of natural sound, still and video imagery. Until four years ago much of my work was video, but while working on a film I suddenly got vertigo. It has been stubborn to diagnose and treat, other than knowing it is caused by my inner ear. I gave up on video, since editing moving images on my computer wasn’t great for my symptoms. Although at first I resented the change, I found I’m happier shooting exclusively still photography because I spend more time in nature taking pictures rather than the long hours I used to spend in front of the computer editing video.

I feel a kinship with van Gogh, who has been diagnosed after the fact with vertigo. I look at his paintings like Starry Night and admire his artistry in expressing a world that spins. Sometimes when I look up, something will shift in my inner ear and I start to feel I’m spinning. So to capture my own view of the world through vertigo, as I peered up at these tall trees I spun the camera focused on the red leaves, with the other trees blurred by my movement. Still images can capture motion, and allow me to share my own view of nature. Art is a way to share unique perspectives, so we can put our pieces together to see the world in new ways.