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Dancing Trees

My submission for the 2024 LEICA WOMEN FOTO PROJECT AWARD:

I recently applied for a contest sponsored by a camera brand that is on the tippity toppity of my wishlist: Leica. I think one of the first times I really went "oh...this is something I need to pay attention to," was when I started working on Chef Sean Brock's PR account and noticed that was the camera he used. Since then, I can't help but notice when I see them out in the wild, and following them on social media has opened a new window of inspiration.

The prompt for the contest is Perspective is Power: Reclamation, Resilience, Rebirth, a personal photo project expressed through the feminine point of view. So, I thought I had a decent chance...

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, dogs and frogs, please behold my entry:

The Dancing Trees of Hunting Island

On the eroding beach of Hunting Island, South Carolina, lies a boneyard of once-mighty great oaks that now lay scattered and subject to the ocean’s waves and powerful tides. To me, these trees are now representative of “dancers;” objects of beautiful shapes and silhouettes which, collectively, produce a natural ballet.

Elegant arms, pointed legs, twists, turns, pliés, and positions – these are the movements of the dancing trees that make up the ballet I love to visit on Hunting Island. Guests are introduced to the production by walking through a wooded path, then over a bridge, where finally the scene of these dancers unfolds. These majestic oak trees once stood tall, with green moss draping off their branches, creatures crawling along its body. With time, nature’s elements deteriorated these beauties, and their proximity to the beach led them to their current sandy stage. No one tree has landed in the same way – some still stand tall, others have fallen into unique arrangements of lovely limbs layered over each other. The goal of this project is to capture these dancers, not in a light of their deterioration, but in a celebration of their resilience to harsh conditions, rebirthing them into new shapes and formations. I believe my unique feminine perspective has allowed me to view them in this way.

I chose to include both black & white and color images for this project, as I feel the combination of visuals lends to a more complete understanding and appreciation of the dancers and the scene in which they lay. The evolution of the trees gives me a greater understanding of nature and its work here on earth, and pushes me to think beyond how things look to the present eye, but how they may resiliently be reborn in the future.


jj <3

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