Foreword Reviews

Starred Review:

The Music of Trees

“When we look through the eye of the camera, hidden things sometimes appear that we might not otherwise notice,” writes photographer Ryan J. Bush. After twenty-one years as a fine art photographer, he positions the natural world as a valance point, its physicality a portal that leads beyond what is fixed.

The Music of Trees elaborates on this concept across three series of tree photographs: Tree Portraits, Memoria, and Multiple Visions. Each series explores a different way of seeing, progressing from representational images to multiple exposures to a final series of great abstraction with graceful perspicacity.

Presented as generous eight-by-eight-inch squares, the photographs rest in the pages’ frame, with wide margins and a facing blank page inviting uninterrupted contemplation. Tree Portraits contains striking black-and-white trees uniquely silhouetted, in whole or in part, from a scenic or unexpected vantage point. Memoria continues with black-and-white images featuring a ghostly accrual of trunks and limbs stretching and intersecting, their mélange an irregular darkness against stark white space. Multiple Visions transitions to color photography, where multiple exposures create graphic, kaleidoscopic patterns that suggest rustling leaves, winking light, a shifting breeze—the thousand minute motions that belie trees’ stillness.

“Everyone is encouraged to have their own experience of the photographs,” but Bush also clearly presents his own intentions in creating each series. The influence of music on the work is strong, and the artist seeks to bring a musicality to the visuals. This intention is evident in the images’ palpable internal tempo. These photographs resound with beats of movement and stillness, always conveying the sense of something captured but not arrested.

A book of great vision and continuity, The Music of Trees orchestrates a journey from the admiration of beauty to a place that vibrates with its own internal frequency.

Reviewed by Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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