Translating geometries of growth


Last April (2020) during lockdown, I made a photographic record of oak saplings, just as they began to burst into leaf. All of the saplings were from acorns planted in October 2015, and had grown to between approximately 50 cms to 200 cms in height.

IMG_2735I photographed each one from directly overhead, using a mask of white card to block out the pot and other details, in order to isolate each sapling’s spatial form. I wanted to capture the range of radiating growth structures.


The process allowed me to document some of the infinite permutations of branch patterns produced as young trees grow, reach up and out, positioning their leaves to capture the light. I saw how each individual sapling’s sensate nature, responded to their situation/environment, to make completely unique structures.

Examples below:

Sapling 1Sapling 2

Reduced to two-dimensions, the sapling growth patterns appeared poised, animate, energised and characterful. I began to see their geometry as an expressive, nonverbal ‘script’.

Later, I began a process of translation by marking connections and geometries that I perceived, using simple digital technique. I responded intuitively, without preconception, to the saplings’ communicative aesthetic, allowing the branching structures to direct the compositions.

sapling 1b

sapling 3 fullsapling 3xsapling 3bsapling 3 less oak