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broken tree

This picture applied to several concepts discussed in Helmers’ “The Elements of Critical Viewing”. Particularly, the picture applied to the step 3 description of describing the image in detail. The broken tree ruins the pattern of the standing trees, and thus creates a loss of balance in the photo. Also, the harsh texture of the leaves is illuminated against the clear sky, and additionally contrasts the smooth texture of the bark and grass. The single down tree could also be identified as a symbolic element, as described in step 4; the reading says trees could represent life, but taken in this context, the image creates a darker tone and connotation.

Erin

Comments

Kelly Martin
Reply

Erin, I am so glad you posted an illustration early in the week! Where did you take this photo? Is it near campus? I like the tree that is down/arched that you mention. You are definitely on the right track with this kind of detailed description!

Erin Hutson
Reply

Yeah, I took it behind the Barnes & Noble, somewhat closer to the Park Point apartments. Thank you!!

Kurt
Reply

I see this tree every day as I go home from campus! Speaking of the symbolism, I’d love to see this exact photo in the winter after it snows. The symbolic weight of that one tree would change tremendously.

Erin
Reply

Ah, nice! I hope it doesn’t fall in the winter, but you’re right, the symbolism would be uncanny!!

Joel
Reply

I really like this picture. To me, it’s less of a balance-distorting image and more of a life cycle image, akin to pictures that showcase the life cycle of a leaf. As winter, and cold in general, is said to be the “death of life” season (in contrast to spring, the “beginning of life” season), the symbolism of this tree would be so much more powerful.
My mind’s eye sees this as a group of king’s men lamenting the loss of their king after a battle.

Keith
Reply

Very nice image. It certainly takes from the pattern, and adds a sense of doom. What I really like is the sense of doom in daylight. I think that really makes the image unique and ruins the balance of its almost perfect surroundings.

Erin
Reply

I really like your interpretation, Joel! I think when the leaves change, the life cycle theme will be even more highlighted. Thanks, Keith! I agree, every time I walk past here, I am almost awestruck.

Jessica
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I really like how you took this photo. How the tree that is bent is more towards the right of the piece instead of centered. By doing that I actually think you gave balance to the photo even though you stated it created a loss of balance. One side is more heavy with trees, where the other is more heavy with sky, and therefore balancing each other out in a way.

Erin
Reply

Thank you!! I thought this angle was most effective at elongating the tree, as well!

Ivonna
Reply

I like when you say that a tree is supposed to mean Life, but in this case the image creates a different connotation. This reminds me when Helmers mentions in Step Seven that we must “consider the image’s effect on the viewer”. Because we’re looking at very green trees in a summer, let’s say, morning, this picture should give us a great feeling of hope, but that broken tree ruins the whole moment. It’s like a lonely tree that’s falling surrounded by all of this standing still trees. You could give a lot of meanings to it.

Erin
Reply

Yeah definitely. I love art in general because of all the interpretations that can be given to it based on the viewer. It isn’t like math where there is a set answer. Anything could essentially be “right”, or a good response to its meaning.

Abel
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I consider that out of all the steps the one that most relates to this image would be step 5: Distinguish Absence. You can feel some hidden meaning behind what seems to be a simple image of a fallen tree. More than this fallen tree being the one that is breaking the balance I would think that this of it as the one breaking the monotony in it, I would have probably named this image “Be yourself”, or “Keep it real”.

Erin
Reply

I didn’t think too much in giving it a title, but those would’ve been good ones! I’ll have to think harder about a title for next week!

Joelle
Reply

Anyone else see a slight rainbow in the photo? It’s faint and arches along the path of the bent tree almost! Very faint– hope it’s not all in my head.

Joelle
Reply

- Unintentional addition or were you aware when you took the photo? (Assuming you see what I’m talking about.)

Erin
Reply

No I didn’t notice that!! Good eye, that’s so cool!

Nikolas
Reply

I think this image also communicated a sense of frailty. Typically people think of trees as strong, sturdy things, but the height and the thinness of these trees doesn’t say that at all. I suppose the fact that one has fallen over demonstrates that weakness, and if it were an unbroken line of trees it might not occur to you.

Claire
Reply

I really love this photo as well. I can almost see a life-like sense of personality in the bent tree, as it seems to be earnestly breaking away from the other trees. I’m also drawn to the curvature of the image in general. The curvature of the tree seems to follow the curve in the path which leads the eye through the photo.

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