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The black and white photograph of a beautiful distorted old tree is shot with a strong contrast of shadow and light, highlighting the texture of the bark and the leafs. The tree is right in the center of the image, filling the space with its presence, like an old person with its rugged skin in movement, almost dancing.
It reminds us of portraiture, for it’s well-centered image, the shadows and the focus on the tree only. The photograph is part of the series New York Arbor, which explores extraordinary trees in the five neighborhoods of New York. The series honors these trees and their importance to urban life. It invites us to look and reflect on our natural environment as a beneficial source of our existence in opposition to his former series American Power, where Epstein denounced the sometimes dramatic ecological and sociological impact, that can be generated by heavy industrial infrastructures.
In the New York Arbor series, Epstein displays a more positive approach to the topic at the intersection of humanity, technology and nature. He romanticizes the power of nature. The viewer is moved by the beauty and the underlying promise that technology and nature may not be incompatible.
You can see some other examples from the series in the slideshow below: