A while ago, I found myself making photograph after photograph of apple trees, without really knowing why. Not bearers of SnapDragon, Envy, RubyFrost or exquisite Fujis manicured to lofty Japanese standards. Just plain old backyard apple trees, bearing sometimes blemished and twisted fruit and often deep in the underbrush on abandoned farmland.  I’m a big fan of Joichi Hoshi, who spent the last decade of his life making nothing but woodblock prints of trees. I’d never been able to get over, though, how odd it seemed to focus completely on one narrow subject area. Yet here I was, even more specialized.

For a while, I thought these might be self-portraits. But any artist reveals something of himself in what he makes.  So that wasn't it, or at least not completely.

In the end, I realized I like the blackish color of apple tree bark and the mushroom shape apple trees have. I like the changes in them as the year transitions through the seasons. Also, where I’ve been photographing most recently, farmers have long since ceased storing apples to keep themselves and their livestock alive through the winter. So, no one tends the trees anymore. Yet they continue to flower and bear fruit, in silent rebuke of those who have left them behind. Do they silently rage against the dying of the light or do they feel they still serve by standing and waiting. I don't know.  But they do have grit. Another symbol of the current state of flux in the industrialized world.

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