Spirit of the woods


RobL

Link Posted 23/06/2021 - 20:34
I am in the first stages of a new project illustrating the enduring beliefs in the supernatural power of trees handed down since the iron age. Early Christianity tried suppressing such pagan beliefs but instead absorbed them far more deeply than at first apparent. Here is my first test piece:

Lubbyman

Link Posted 23/06/2021 - 22:43
Well seen and executed. An Ent from Lord Of The Rings???

Good luck with the new project.

Steve

RobL

Link Posted 23/06/2021 - 23:45
Thanks Steve, actually a stone figure from the local church, it's amazing how many strange creatures can be found by looking. Here are a couple more, this is fun!



Last Edited by RobL on 23/06/2021 - 23:52

LennyBloke

Link Posted 24/06/2021 - 07:21
Looks like a fun project Rob - that last shot is such a simple but clever shot, the stained glass of man behind the stained glass of nature
LennyBloke

RobL

Link Posted 24/06/2021 - 08:14
Thanks Lenny. I have been reading about the role trees played in Anglo-Saxon England (well it beats wall to wall football), starting with pre-Christian sacred trees and groves. Early Christian missionaries cut down these trees and erected wooden churches and crosses fashioned from that same wood, aware or not that the locals believed the spirits lived on in the timber afterwards. Here is where Steve the archaeologist will scoff but in a moment of insight I realised that the design of churches probably derived from those early sacred groves - bear with me here. In place of the grove with its sacrificial altar you have the centre of the church with an altar for symbolic sacrifice re-enacted every Sunday; leading up to this altar is a nave, a corridor of columns in place of a processional route originally in timber but replaced later by stone. The Roman arch and vault completed the transformation into stone but as designs became more elaborate the vaults more closely resembled a tree canopy until the fan vault completed the process, reaching higher and higher skywards. There is even a subterranean vault, the undercroft, a gateway to the underworld.

In support of my theory you only have to look at the strange creatures and patterns like the green man carved into the churches; thousands of years of superstition donít get wiped away overnight so I wonder whether the masons, generally being of rural stock, were drawing on those traditional motifs for their ideas, hedging their bets, or even subversively introducing pagan images as an act of rebellion against the Christian religion being forced on them.

However Christianity is on the wane, it no longer enjoys its former power and influence for better or worse. People are realising that mankind is not some special creation for whom the world of plants and animals were provided but an integral part of the natural world. We now recognise the essential role trees play in keeping the natural order in balance and efforts are being made to reinstate them. It all started with the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden and now we are going full circle.

Am I talking rubbish here or does it ring true? Whatever, it gives me an excuse to take more photos and play around in Photoshop.
Last Edited by RobL on 24/06/2021 - 08:18

redbusa99

Link Posted 24/06/2021 - 13:48
i think if you and Simon Baxter got together with his take on trees and how he sees them the outcome would be a very interesting set of images. Really enjoyed these.
K3 II and the odd lens or 2

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cardiffgareth

Link Posted 24/06/2021 - 22:47
Yes, Mr Baxter does like a tree!

That opening image, you can imagine that being someone that's been zapped by a witch and transformed to a tree!
Gareth
Welsh Photographer

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davidwozhere

Link Posted 26/06/2021 - 00:08
The trees in the nave double exposure is a wonderful image. And on top of everything it LOOKS right too. Don't forget the notion of 'As above, so below', which is so often depicted with the branches growing up from the trunk and the roots growing down from that trunk, the symbolic division being that between earth and heaven or body and spirit.
This one is on the outside of Bath Abbey ....


The crown is quite literal - the crown of one's head from where the spirit is said to depart in due course.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link
Last Edited by davidwozhere on 26/06/2021 - 00:18

RobL

Link Posted 26/06/2021 - 12:35
davidwozhere wrote:
The trees in the nave double exposure is a wonderful image. And on top of everything it LOOKS right too. Don't forget the notion of 'As above, so below', which is so often depicted with the branches growing up from the trunk and the roots growing down from that trunk, the symbolic division being that between earth and heaven or body and spirit.
This one is on the outside of Bath Abbey ....


The crown is quite literal - the crown of one's head from where the spirit is said to depart in due course.

The trees in the nave double exposure is a wonderful image. And on top of everything it LOOKS right too. Don't forget the notion of 'As above, so below', which is so often depicted with the branches growing up from the trunk and the roots growing down from that trunk, the symbolic division being that between earth and heaven or body and spirit.
This one is on the outside of Bath Abbey ....


The crown is quite literal - the crown of one's head from where the spirit is said to depart in due course.[/quote]
davidwozhere wrote:
The trees in the nave double exposure is a wonderful image. And on top of everything it LOOKS right too. Don't forget the notion of 'As above, so below', which is so often depicted with the branches growing up from the trunk and the roots growing down from that trunk, the symbolic division being that between earth and heaven or body and spirit.
This one is on the outside of Bath Abbey ....


The crown is quite literal - the crown of one's head from where the spirit is said to depart in due course.

Oooh thatís a good one, I must go see sometime. Thanks for the comments, I have realised that the stained glass one shows the protective mesh so I would like to change it to an interior shot when I get the chance. There is a green man inside a church nearby (Southam) but like many others it is closed for the time being which is frustrating. So far I am just using archive shots plus a few outside details but would like to plan a couple of trips as soon as possible.
Last Edited by RobL on 26/06/2021 - 12:38

JonSchick

Link Posted 26/06/2021 - 18:26
Really like those double exposures, especially the first. Really interesting project and looking forward to seeing more!
Jon

Some occasional random stuff at The Photographers Block: link

RobL

Link Posted 26/06/2021 - 18:40
Well you did ask for it!

Sry

Link Posted 27/06/2021 - 14:14
Great start to quite an interesting project Rob. Definitely looking forward to more.

davidwozhere

Link Posted 28/06/2021 - 00:47
There is also a nice 'tree of life' stained glass window in Exhall church just North of Coventry.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link

redbusa99

Link Posted 29/06/2021 - 10:14
That's spooky but clever,like it
K3 II and the odd lens or 2

Flickr
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