Back when my family lived on an old red brick street in the old Central Neighborhood here in Traverse City, Michigan, there was a sign that read “Tree City USA”. This title actually came from The Arbor Day Foundation when they named the town such for our exceptional urban forest management. TC is tangled with beautiful old trees. A majority of them are oaks and pines. There are a couple trees that have been designated with plaques remembering them as waypoints for natives who used techniques to put strange bends in their trunks. One massive tree in the woods behind the old mental asylum was struck by lightning, split into several large pieces and has since been covered in graffiti and dubbed “The Hippy Tree”. The old oak trees of Traverse City have character, living through hundreds of cycles of hot, moist, abundant summers; and cold, frozen, hard winters.
I want a photography project to showcase the beauty of the trees of Traverse City. I want to show their symbiotic relationships with it’s citizens, many of whom the trees out-live. The trees in town are different from their cousins of the forest. They’re pruned, decorated with Christmas lights, gardened around, and kept alive through their natural life, avoiding being turned into furniture.
The clouds that come off of Lake Michigan vary splendidly here in Traverse City. The wind usually blow them in from the west. In the summer they’re fluffy and low. In the winter they’re grey and high. I’m remaking my list of subjects to include the clouds that float over our town.
Snow. What natural occurrence defines northern Michigan more than the lakes? The first snowfall of every year inspires feelings of merriment. It makes us thankful for the warmth of our homes and the food in our stores and restaurants. The last snowfall of every year invokes gloom. I want to devote a few rolls of film next year to fallen snow and the beautiful forms it takes.
People come to Traverse City for a multitude of reasons. Some come for the cherry orchards, some for the wine, some for the bars, some for the dunes, some for the forests. The people who live here, stay here for a feeling of peace, sitting on their porch amongst the trees and birds and people biking around. Or they stay just for the book they’re reading with their feet up by the fire as five foot drifts of soft white snow blows up around their car. This is a beautiful place and I believe there’s an infinite world of art to be created within it’s boundaries.