This body of work reminds me of Edward Burtynsky’s Natural Order (2020) which focuses on the chaos and entanglement in nature. In literature, Peter Wohlleben in The Hiddenness of Trees (2017) writes of the underground networks of species supporting each other in woods and forests and Robert Macfarlane in Underland (2020) takes the reader on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet.
Lynch too, explores the interconnectedness of nature and humans in her introduction of Another Way of Looking at Love. Her work focuses, sometimes on a single species, and in other images features a number of species co-existing in nature – exploring points of connection and also the spaces in between. Her imagery not only reveals her awe of the natural world and its power in the human/nature relationship but also the possibilities of the photographic moment in capturing these connections.
I find Lynch’s work very inspiring in a number of ways. We share an interest and wish to capture the interconnectedness of nature, whether it be through the social life of trees in my case or through the co-existence of different species in hedgerows and open spaces for Lynch. I also enjoy the way that Lynch focuses on one species, such as in the first image of her collection in the link above, and then through careful control of depth of field, provides a glimpse of what else is growing nearby. She often uses the shape of the foreground interest to provide a frame from which we can enjoy the middle ground beyond. Her images also celebrate the changes and differences through the seasons.
An earlier work by Lynch, Presence (2013) https://janellelynch.net/presence-grid, a study of trees, was inspired by the American artist Charles Burchfield and the writer Annie Dillard, who wrote about the year she spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Both Dillard and Birchfield subscribe to the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau (an American naturalist, poet and philosopher) that the natural world is created and informed by spirits, and the individual elements of nature symbolise a more pervasive spirituality.
I had not heard of Charles Burchfield before undertaking this piece of research. However, I find his paintings interesting in terms of the impressionistic aesthetic and his almost child-like fantastical depiction of the stars and the night sky. I will enjoy researching more of his paintings in the next few weeks as I believe they may be relevant and provide inspiration for my Among Trees Collection.
I also found out that it is possible to download images of Burchfield’s work for educational purposes and for this I thank The Fundacion Colleccion, Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Here are two examples of Burchfield’s beautiful work.
I am very excited to find the work of Janelle Lynch, for which I think Dr Julia Peck from the University of Gloucestershire, and also through associated research, to identify Charles Burchfield and Annie Dillard as future sources of inspiration. It is always exciting when these finds materialise – this is the pleasure of academic research.
Burchfield, C. (1962). Orion in Winter. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Burchfield, C. (1950-1959). Cicado Forests. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Burtynsky, E. (2020). Natural Order. Gottingen, Steidl.
Lynch, J. (2015-2018). Another Way of Looking at Love. Santa Fe, Radius Books.
Macfarlane, R. (2020). Underland – A Deep Time Journey. London, Penguin.
Wohlleben, P. (2017). The Hidden Life of Trees. London, William Collins.