I make tree portraits. Most people understand the idea of making human portraits. They grasp how a well-made portrait can reveal something unique or insightful about the human subject and his or her inner and outer life. Many great photographers have done remarkable work in this genre.

Why? I try to show the individual character and personality of the trees that I photograph. In some curious way, I "feel" these trees. I sense their inner life—the energy and life force that runs through their limbs. Some oaks, especially the old ones, I feel are "aware" of things around them. Somehow they store the memories of what they've experienced and their memories reach back long and wide. The old trees, the ones that have lived in groves and alleys for a century or more, have a deep connection to their environment. On a good day they may share those memories. Not in words, but in thoughts and feelings. I try to translate my experience of the trees into pictures and words.

How? I may visit an oak several times in varying light and weather conditions before I feel I've made an image that is a good portrait. When the light and the weather combine into moments that are remarkably beautiful—moments that just ask to be shared through a photograph, those are the times I'm fortunate to be in that place at that time with a camera. 

I believe that if an oak, or any tree, can be seen as a unique and individual thing—as a living being with a personality and history—then it becomes harder to overlook its importance, or minimize its significance. A strong portrait can make it easier to realize a tree's beauty and importance—to its location, its environment, and to local culture and history of the place where it lives and grows. 

In today’s world, the realization of a tree’s cultural, historic, social, and economic value is a crucial step toward protecting it from thoughtless and needless damage or removal. The planet needs its trees, and especially its old trees, more than ever. Yet, we are losing our live oak trees and especially the old, historic and significant trees at an alarming rate. The reasons? Unchecked development, lack of legal protection, depleted air, soil, and water, violent storms, and changing climate. 

My goal with Louisiana’s oaks is to photograph and document as many as I can in the time I’m allowed and to help create an appreciation of these centuries-old icons of the Southern landscape. As a result of this journey, I’ve also become interested in the preservation and conservation of historic and significant trees. historic and sacred landscapes across the country as well as preservation of historic and significant sacred places.   

What began for me as a simple exercise in creating a photographic series of a subject matter that attracted me emotionally has become a life’s work and a kind of spiritual quest to better understand my purpose as a passenger on this planet.

An ongoing series of focused on finding and documenting the 100 oldest oaks in the state.

Artist Statement

I make tree portraits. Most people understand the idea of making human portraits. They grasp how a well-made portrait can reveal something unique or insightful about the human subject and his or her inner and outer life. Many great photographers have done remarkable work in this genre.

Why? I try to show the individual character and personality of the trees that I photograph. In some curious way, I "feel" these trees. I sense their inner life—the energy and life force that runs through their limbs. Some oaks, especially the old ones, I feel are "aware" of things around them. Somehow they store the memories of what they've experienced and their memories reach back long and wide. The old trees, the ones that have lived in groves and alleys for a century or more, have a deep connection to their environment. On a good day they may share those memories. Not in words, but in thoughts and feelings. I try to translate my experience of the trees into pictures and words.

How? I may visit an oak several times in varying light and weather conditions before I feel I've made an image that is a good portrait. When the light and the weather combine into moments that are remarkably beautiful—moments that just ask to be shared through a photograph, those are the times I'm fortunate to be in that place at that time with a camera. 

I believe that if an oak, or any tree, can be seen as a unique and individual thing—as a living being with a personality and history—then it becomes harder to overlook its importance, or minimize its significance. A strong portrait can make it easier to realize a tree's beauty and importance—to its location, its environment, and to local culture and history of the place where it lives and grows. 

In today’s world, the realization of a tree’s cultural, historic, social, and economic value is a crucial step toward protecting it from thoughtless and needless damage or removal. The planet needs its trees, and especially its old trees, more than ever. Yet, we are losing our live oak trees and especially the old, historic and significant trees at an alarming rate. The reasons? Unchecked development, lack of legal protection, depleted air, soil, and water, violent storms, and changing climate. 

My goal with Louisiana’s oaks is to photograph and document as many as I can in the time I’m allowed and to help create an appreciation of these centuries-old icons of the Southern landscape. As a result of this journey, I’ve also become interested in the preservation and conservation of historic and significant trees. historic and sacred landscapes across the country as well as preservation of historic and significant sacred places.   

What began for me as a simple exercise in creating a photographic series of a subject matter that attracted me emotionally has become a life’s work and a kind of spiritual quest to better understand my purpose as a passenger on this planet.