CUT/BURN/GROW/SELL / 2012 -2014
These conceptual images (printed 48x48) represent the four stages of modern industrial tree farming, explored in my ongoing documentary project Working Forest. Each of the first three images is comprised of many photographs composited to create a kind of typology.
CUT has 324 pictures of stumps made on three Sunday afternoons. I carefully mapped out the clear cut to photograph each stump in a given plot.
BURN has 196 pictures of limbs and broken chunks of logs, that make up the conical shaped burn piles seen in some of the Working Forest images. The piles ranged in height from eight feet to twenty feet. After the slash is piled a piece of plastic is placed over the top to keep the center of the pile dry. In the fall the piles are ignited and left to burn without supervision. The piles often smolder for weeks.
GROW is made of 121 images of tree tops. The seedlings are not genetically modified but they have been selectively bred for decades to produce quantifiable yields in certain soil and slope types. My wife and I walk often along this section of road which is a quarter mile from our home. One day I mused on the fact that, despite all the efforts to control their growth, each and every tree top was expressing its own unique personality.
SELL became obvious to me one day while sitting in the middle of a recent clear cut, looking at the abrupt edge line separating stumps from standing trees.