James Balog went on a six year quest to photograph North America's largest, oldest, and strongest trees. What he found were sculpturally elegant trees that have survived by sheer hardiness or luck. For Balog, these images were the closest he could come to reassembling the continent's long-gone primeval forests. “Across the globe, the planet's original tree cover has been so significantly altered or annihilated that we no longer remember what the world used to look like,” he says.”
Borrowing from the cubist sensibility of Picasso and Braque and building upon the mosaic-assemblage technique pioneered by photographer David Hockney, his most recent photographs are produced using a digital multi-exposure method. Balog captures a tree in thousands of tiny frames as he rappels down an adjacent tree. He then reconstructs the tree using up to eight hundred individual shots to create these amazing photo collages, revealing the entire tree to the human eye for the first time.
“Stagg,” Sequoia in Alder Creek Grove. it is the fifth largest tree in the world.
“Tanglewood” Eastern White Pine, Lenox, Massachusetts – This tree is believed to have germinated around 1820 when Massachusetts was at its point of maximum deforestation.
Valley Oak, Covelo, California – Largest individual of its species in U.S.
American Elm, Buckley, Michigan – Largest individual of its species in U.S. (2000). The tree succumbed to Dutch elm disease two years later.
Redbud, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
“Angel Oak,” Johns Island, South Carolina – One of the largest individuals of its species in U.S., 1000+ years old.
Canyon Live Oak, Springville, California – Largest individual of its species in U.S.
American Beech, Waynesville, North Carolina – Exceptional view of subterranean anatomy created by hogs rooting around the tree and eroding the soil.
James Balog's website
Earth Vision Trust website
James Balog's book – Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest