Encircling Trees is the photographic remains of my performance of circling around a tree extensively. Holding a large format camera, I try to point it at the tree while walking constantly around it. The eye of the camera opens as I start walking, closes as I stop. These performances/exposures last up to two hours.
The project is carried out during winter in late night. Trees look lonelier in a world of white. Circling around trees is a decent way to have conversations with them. This circular movement recenters my world, creating a sphere of spatial and temporal solitude. In this space and time, both the tree and I start to unfold. Every angle of the tree is compressed to one frame. The camera sees and remembers all my shivers.
Through this extended effort of conversation, I aim to find an alternative way of representation through abstraction. The long exposure obscures the subject, and unveil the presence of the artist’s hand—it captures neither of them but the relationship in between.
By circling around trees, I aim to find a way to abstain from the carefully composed aesthetic of photography and transform the creative process to a down-to-earth physical labor, wherein the artist loses control over the framing of the final image. Still, the photograph is the only visible proof of this labor. As the viewer engages, the whole process evolves in their imagination.
This solitary toil makes me think about my ancestors who keep pushing the millstone for thousands of years. In this mimical homage, my steps around the tree start to get steady. In the endeavor to escape the abrasive encounter with time, I realize I’m walking like a moving hand in a clock.