Earlier this week my friend Thomas Zak sent me his poem, "Dialogue in the Woods." Thomas is from the South: Louisiana. That location is foreign and mysterious in my imagination, conjuring voodoo and gospel music; dark racism and high culture; festering swamps and otherworldly giant trees. (I'm sure Baton Rouge is far different than this expectation and I would love to someday experience it myself.) Thomas told me his poem was being published on the blog of a local literary journal and that they were looking for photos to accompany it. He loved "the fractured, mosaic form of [my] photographs and immediately thought [my] work would be a great fit. Would I be interested in submitting some images?" As you, my readers, know, I've long been exploring the possibilities of pairing the seeing eye and the written word, especially with poetry, so I lept at the chance for a new collaboration.
My friend's deceptively simple poem reminded my of the several acres of young poplar about a mile from my home. Over the years I've often wandered there when I've needed to call a friend, get out of my head, or take some pictures. The poem speaks of both the sadness and contentment found in the life cycle of a tree, so my sequence of images tried to follow this cycle from the forest floor to the parts of the tree nearest the sky.
Thomas and I worked closely as we refined the image selection and their order, and now the finished piece has gone live. Head over and take a look. I hope you're as pleased as we are with this collaboration.