Alfred Monner – Tree Presence


Alfred Monner, Tree Presence, 1953
Gelatin Silver Print
On view at Portland Art Museum (Dusk through Dawn), Dec. 21 – Mar. 16, 2014

I must confess that I don’t know how this photo was made or even exactly what it depicts, but I like it very much. At first I thought it was a single branch but after some harder looking I think I it’s a tree or parts of several trees viewed from below (downhill) and lit from the side. I like that it’s hard to find my visual footing. Much as I’m not sure whether I’m looking at a branch or an entire tree, this photo pulls towards vast and microscopic associations. At once it looks like an aerial view of an estuary and a microscopic view of some sort of crystalline structure. I suppose I’d like to know how it’s made but I’ll settle for the pleasure of looking at it.


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