Walpole Nornalup National Park
This paperbark tree, photographed near Walpole reflects the tranquility on a quiet afternoon. Everything was still which is unusual. It’s right near the coast where you can hear the sound of the southern ocean’s pounding waves in the distance. Although there was no breeze where I stood, late afternoon clouds move across the sky blocking the setting sun.
I relish quiet moments. My eyes scan the landscape. It is almost an unconscious process and unhurried. There is no immediate purpose in my mind. Thoughts float in and out without judgement as I absorb the visual information in front of me. After a while I become more conscious of my eyes being drawn repeatedly back to a particular area. This is the birth signs of the thought “would this be interesting to photograph?”. I guess in a nutshell this is what drives me to photograph. Is the visual information I’m receiving interesting to me? If so let’s explore it. Where will this photographic journey take me? In a way all photographs are an exploration of ones self as the photographer.
Paperbark tree is one such personal photographic exploration. How do I find a visual balance between key elements that I find important? The emphasis here is on “what I find important”. Yes, photography really is discriminatory. It is by nature prejudicial because it is one person’s view. You have to decide what elements to include within your view or frame. That very act of inclusion is matched by what you exclude. So here, in a quiet moment within the Walpole Nornalup National Park, I was exploring my thoughts through photography.
You can easily recognise paperbark trees. They have smooth creamy white papery bark. Sometimes sheets of papery bark are shed from the trunk and branches. Their white trunks and branches glow in the low angled morning and evening light. They create a stark visual contrast to the backdrop to a sea of green formed by the towering forests around Walpole. The region is renowned for its majestic karri forest and tingle trees of enormous girths. You will find the paperbarks residing on the margins of these giants, often in the swamps and wetland areas.
Paperbark tree shows a tenacity for life. At the base of the tree is a tangle of twisted tree roots. There are interesting shapes formed by root diversions, overlaps, twists, unexpected angles, and knots. To me, they are like lines in a face, a metaphor of a life well-lived.
I am fascinated by the shapes of trees and intrigued by their complexity. Here is another photographic study of paperbark tree-roots.
90mm lens, Wista field camera, Tmax 400 4×5 film. 11×14 inch fibre based silver gelatin print on Fomabrom 111.