In the immediate area where I live, there is astonishingly little of any interest. For the most part, it is what I consider an endless suburban wasteland, systematically stripped of anything that might inspire or light the fires of imagination. The majesty of nature has long ago been swept away in favor of roads, houses, stores, planned parks and landscaping. Absent is any sort of cultural diversity that might yield a human interest; instead there’s just a painful reality bubble that is modern suburbia, brought to you by corporate marketers. I suppose it’s a testament to my own creativity that I’m able to take as many photos as I do here, given that it’s such an uninspiring environment – but in truth I mostly find it annoying. It is a long term goal of mine in life to be able to walk out my front door and have something interesting on the other side; but I certainly don’t have that today.

There is, however, one exception to the above that’s consistently piqued my interest over the last year or so, that being the trees in the local park where I frequently take my photos (it’s big enough that I can at least present that illusion of being more wooded and natural than it actually is).

Many of the trees are literally covered in graffiti; initials, tags and dates that I imagine were mostly carved by bored teenagers. But the remarkable thing is that much of it goes back decades. Many of the people who carved their initials as teenagers would now be in their 40’s or 50’s. Statistically speaking, at least some of them must be dead already. The relationships immortalized by hearts and plus signs are in all likelihood long ended… but perhaps some aren’t?

These trees, in short, offer a thin slice of history. An inscrutable, abstract slice – but history nonetheless. They tell a human story that spans at least a few decades. I find that fascinating, and time and again I find myself returning to this subject with my camera, wondering about the people who passed through and left their mark. In the wasteland of suburbia, where in the name of “development” absolutely nothing is held sacred or left unchanged, it’s something interesting.

Exposure: 1/250″
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 18mm


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