In April 2020, during lockdown, I made a photographic record of the growth patterns of 20 oak saplings, just as they began to burst into leaf. All the saplings were grown from acorns planted in October 2015, and had reached between approximately 50 cms and 200 cms in height.
I photographed each one from directly overhead, using a mask of white card to block out unwanted details, and isolate each sapling’s spatial form. I aimed to capture a 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, caused them to respond to their situation/environment, and grow completely unique structures.
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.