(American, b. 1954)
ANGEL SOUTHERN LIVE OAK TREE (QUERCUS VIRGINIANA), CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Digital inkjet prints
11 x 14 inches
Credit: © Eric Baden, courtesy George Eastman House
The Angel Oak, a giant among southern live oaks, has seen native Carolinians, enslaved Africans, and white planters passing under its boughs. Under the leadership of Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., the City purchased the five acres surrounding the tree in 1988 and opened Angel Oak Park. Today, the oak stands 65 feet tall and has a circumference of 25½ feet at breast height and its canopy shades an area of 17,000 square feet. However, the oak’s island site is undergoing profound changes, especially development pressure from neighboring resorts. The massive tree, known for its strength and sweeping delicacy, has withstood centuries of nature’s furies, but must now be protected from the human impacts that threaten its health so that it may continue to link the centuries.
In the summer of 2007, a curatorial team from George Eastman House invited 12 photographers to photograph the sites designated by the Cultural Landscape Foundation as their 2007 Landslide landscapes. Landslide landscapes are horticultural sites that have stood steadfast in the face of development. The photographs made for this project record and illustrate the astonishing specimen trees, groves, allées, and plant collections throughout the United States that the Cultural Landscape Foundation deems unique and character-defining to a region. They also represent collaborations with artists that have yielded compelling interpretations of extraordinary places.
From July 31 through September 27, 2009, Reynolda House will host “Heroes of Horticulture,” an exhibition organized by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in collaboration with The Cultural Landscape Foundation of Washington, DC. The exhibition features photographs of trees and plantings, some of which are more than 100 years old.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
George Eastman House
The Cultural Landscape Foundation