The cultural and political climate of the US is at a high point of polarization, when simultaneously there have never been more tools of instantaneous global communication. We’ve never been more connected, and we’ve never been further apart. And so, as social creatures, many people seek community, and a sense of belonging, not only found in companionship and collaboration with others, but in solitary time, and in nature, tuning into ourselves.
Therein lie the origins of Pine. Coming upon a rough tree carving (the words “make out tree, with an arrow guiding the viewer in the correct direction), Johnson made a snapshot, but the moment and the marker stayed with him, and he returned with his 4x5 camera to take it in again, slowly. Over the last few years he has scouted trees of all environs, looking for human traces upon them, and musing on the (often) adolescent emotions and explorations that lead to poignant sentiments recorded within a living surface.
Johnson envisioned and realized a sonic set of reflections to accompany his photographs, revisiting his own history as a musician and bringing in a varied group of collaborators who responded to the photographs with their compositions and recordings.
Eirik Johnson (b. Seattle, WA, 1974; resides in Seattle) has received numerous awards including the 2012 Neddy at Cornish Award in Open Medium (for what became this series), a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in 2009, the Santa Fe Prize in 2005, and a William J. Fulbright Grant to Peru in 2000. His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, among others. He is the author of two previous mongraphs: Borderlands (Twin Palms, 2005) and Sawdust Mountain (Aperture, 2009). He is the Programs Chair at Photographic Center Northwest, and also serves as affiliate faculty at the University of Washington, of which he is an alum.