Apple orchards are an integral part of the New England landscape and give a sense of communicating part of the psyche of region. The gnarled, almost grotesque shapes of the apple trees convey a struggle against the elements, with which many New Englanders are familiar. There are moments of beauty that are short-lived followed by a lengthy, quiet production of a fruit that is not flashy, but whose taste is pure, refreshing and satisfying. While there may be more visually appealing apples from other parts of the globe, nothing compares to biting into a New England apple and relishing that first taste as it invades the senses.
As I enjoy photographing the New England landscape, apple trees and orchards have always held a special draw for me. The rugged trees give a feeling of strength and indomitability as they are contrasted with the forces of nature around them; as such, they represent hope and permanence in a world that rapidly changes around us. Incorporating the wondrous, sometimes almost other-worldly shapes presented by apple trees in my photography has given these trees a special place in my heart, as I try to establish a connection between the trees and their surroundings in each image.
This year, I have decided to extend my photography of apple trees beyond merely incorporating them into my work, but rather to document their life. From the beginning of the year, I have started tracking the trees in a single orchard in Harvard, Massachusetts. Thus far, the trees have come out of the winter and developed their leaves and blossoms, which are now fading fast. The next phase to track is that steady growth of those delicious apples.
Every month or so, I will post an update on this project and share some of the images from it. I hope you enjoy the images and think ahead toward those delicious apples at the end of the process.
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
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2 thoughts on “An Apple Orchard (part 1)”
Good shots, Frank! I like the look of seeing different seasons.
Nice project to photograph for the year…to celebrate ththe seasonal diversities. This will truly express the life & spirit of the trees!