Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Weekend Tree Project

Charlie and I road-tripped down to Platteville this weekend to visit family and attend the 'That Tree' gallery opening by Mark Hirsch in Dubuque. Friday night was magical as my dad and I strolled through Gallery C admiring Mark Hirsch's photos and discussing topics ranging from the photo compositions and old memories to my own current project - writing and photographing for this blog.

My dad is so proud of me. Maybe you can imagine how profound that feels.

Gallery C was the perfect space for this exhibit:  original brick and stone walls, exposed wooden beams and polished wood floors. The entire space oozed with history of its former life as a warehouse and factory but also felt earthy, warm and inviting. New elements of wood and metal were complimentary to all of the old historical elements and the walls themselves felt like works of art.

As people milled about sipping wine, snacking on cheese and crackers and admiring the photos, the sweet sound of Mark's son, Tristan, singing songs and strumming his guitar filled the gallery. I even heard him do a rendition of 'Flightless Bird' from the Twilight movie soundtrack! I stood in line and waited to have my book autographed and had a chance to chat with Mark for a few minutes. It turns out that he and my dad knew several of the same people. Small world.

It was a special evening spending time with my dad while honoring a fellow artist, congratulating his success and enjoying the fruits of his artistic gift. It is truly amazing. I found myself getting a little bit emotional while looking at some of the photos as I imagined the amount of time and thought that went into each composition as well as the dedication it took to stand by a single subject for an entire year. I was surrounded by so much imagination and talent and at the same time, my dad continued to praise my own photography; it was a bit overwhelming, but in a good way.

The next morning, my dad and I woke early and walked the dogs around his property. There is a particular giant oak tree - possibly the largest in the county - residing on his land that he wanted to show me. I took it upon myself to do my own little 'That Tree' project of my dad's tree. I have to be up front here and say that I am not copying Mark's project; this is a one time thing. I am simply honoring a beautiful weekend spent with my dad by incorporating an event that we shared together with something that resonates with him personally. Some people say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, some people are offended when their ideas are copied, I hope you enjoy it and take it for what it is... a daughter's love for her dad and their shared love of the outdoors.