collaborators to date: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest | special thanks: Martha Winans Slaughter, Mark K. Wourms
Summer 2010, participating in the MONGOLIA 360° International Land Art Biennial, I encountered many odd-shaped and magnificent trees tied with blue scarves. At one point I witnessed a shaman praying in front of one of these trees. I discovered some of them were lightning struck sacred trees, and learned their sacredness manifested through their survival of a lightning strike. One becomes a shaman by a similar process; either through a lightning strike or other near-death experiences. A shaman is sometimes buried inside a sacred living tree.
Spring 2011, during a Bernheim Research Forest's artist residency, I was on the hunt for lightning struck trees. After two weeks of wandering in an untouched forest, I finally found three on a mountain ridge. It was a very quiet still day without wind. Suddenly, a dead tall tree crashed to the ground beside me. The sound, muted but immense, left me enveloped in an utter dead deep silence. When I "woke up" I realized these three trees might not be standing the next time I encountered them. I pulled my tripod out and began taking photographs. These images became a photographic series for the Global Tree Project: LIGHTNING.