Changing Forests: 1998–2004


A quest to photograph North America’s largest, oldest, and strongest trees, plus a glorious obsession with old growth forests combined to occupy six years of James’ life, resulting in the publication of Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest (2004). At first, he built enormous portrait studios beneath the canopies of the forest. Beginning in 2000 he invented a method to photograph the tallest, 300 plus-foot trees in segments from top to bottom; then composite these segments into portraits, showing the entire tree for the first time. These images stand as an artistic and symbolic reassembling of the continent’s long-lost primeval forests. Across the globe, the planet’s original tree cover has been altered so dramatically that we no longer remember what made nature natural.