Photographer David Paul Bayles focuses on landscapes where the needs of forests and human pursuits often collide, sometimes coexist and on occasion find harmony. Some of his projects utilize a documentary approach while others use a more contemporary art practice.
Bayles’ deep connection with trees was forged in the mid seventies when he left the suburbs of Los Angeles to work four years as a logger in the Sierra Nevada mountains. A month before leaving the woods for photography school David was chased down a steep hill by a large log. His instinctive, snap judgement, saved him from being crushed by the rolling log, punctuating the four year physical experience with a profoundly spiritual one. While attending photo school in Santa Barbara, Bayles became committed to environmentalism. His dual perspectives of logger and environmentalist add an authentic and unique approach to his photographic projects.
He currently lives and photographs in the Coast range of western Oregon, where highly efficient industrialized working forests supplanted the massive old growth forests many decades ago.
His photographs have been published in numerous magazines including Orion, Nature, Audubon, Outside, The L.A. Times Sunday Magazine and others. Public collections include The Portland Art Museum, Santa Barbara Art Museum, The Harry Ransom Center, Wildling Museum and others. His book Urban Forest, Images of Trees in the Human Landscape was chosen by The Christian Science Monitor as one of their seven favorite books of 2003. The David Paul Bayles Photographic Archive was created in 2016 at The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley to archive his entire life’s work.