As I type this, the book, “These Trees,” has been picked up by UPS from the printer and is en route to me in North Carolina. I feel like one of the townspeople in the musical, “The Music Man,” who is waiting for the Wells Fargo wagon to arrive. Except that I’m waiting for the familiar brown van of UPS.
It feels like it is taking ‘forever’ for this book to arrive, which got me wondering -- How long did it take me to make this book? Photographs were taken as long ago as 2009 and as recently as 2017. I first conceived of this book in 2014 when I had a show in a gallery and was very frustrated because the gallery curator wouldn’t let me show only tree photos. She wanted variety of subjects. I thought there was plenty of variety in tree bark alone, not to mention leaves! shapes! flowers! Well, you get the idea. But she prevailed and half the photos in the show were non-trees. All the photos that sold, however, were of trees!
Since 2014 I have been deliberately photographing trees with the thought in mind they might one day find their way into a book of tree photographs. In May 2016 I began going through the thousands of photographs I have on my computer and made a separate file of those I thought might find their way into the book. Then, in November 2016, I joined forces with Gary Perrone, a brilliant Dallas art director and we began working together in earnest to create a book that would showcase trees in some of their many glorious manifestations.
Also in November 2016 I sent out a call for poems about trees to a national network of poets and received submissions from almost 100 poets from California to New Jersey. It was a pleasure to read so many lovely poems and a delight to find that many were about trees I already had photographs of, such as a ‘nurse log’ in the Hoh Rain Forest, redbuds, dogwoods, and paperbark maples.
We had the first draft of the book done in early March 2017. Looking at the first draft evoked a mix of emotions in me: pride that we had gotten this far, pleasure in some of the lay-outs and an intense need to change some lay-outs! But that’s what first proofs are for, right? Fortunately for me it was spring in the Appalachians and I was able to get out and take more photographs without getting too cold and Gary and I revised the book to its current form by the first week of May 2017.
I’ll be using this website to update you on the book, “These Trees,” as well as related pursuits. There will be the occasional updates with more tree photographs. Please drop me a line about the book – especially if you have suggestions for other places where I can photograph interesting trees. I’d love to hear from you!
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.