The tree: a symbol of life

The tree: a symbol of life

Manfred Gsteu

Trees have always been a symbol of life for me, a constant companion when coming and going. I especially enjoy the symbol of a tree when walking in nature, whether it is raining, snowing or sunny. When walking in a large meadow in the spring, the scene is very colorful. In winter, when the landscape is covered with deep snow, I often see a lonely tree, then slow down, take a deep breath and look at it in awe!

A symbol of life–the tree. It can protect against the sun and storm, it gives you the material for building a house and the tree can also give you food. When you harvest a fresh apple, taste it and sit under the shadow of your friend, the tree–what can you feel then? What would be our world, our nature, without the tree?

The tree inspires the painter, who is very often using this subject as a, symbol in his work; the trees can form a wonderful landscape. The tree is a symbol of the joy and the mourning, the peace and the storm, life…. but the death, too.

The tree shows its various clothing in all four seasons: blossoms in the spring, fruits in the summer, colorful leaves in autumn and the white wedding clothes in winter. Sometimes, like a very good friend, the tree warns you that a tragedy is coming … dry branches hanging down, unhealthy leaves falling down … slow down, stay by the tree and listen. With the camera, one can tell a story when capturing images of trees.

When looking at the beauty of a tree, do not forget how long it takes for a tree to reach its full size–many years of growing. But also consider how quickly a tree can be destroyed. Nature is being destroyed when people cut down trees in the name of growth, expansion and progress. For example, forests are cleared to make parking places or to just to make money by selling the wood. This happens every day in places such as the Amazon area of Brazil or the forest areas of Indonesia. Protect the tree–it is a valuable part of nature and of the health of the human being.

The subject of trees for me is a fascinating companion–throughout my 25 years of active photography, I have admired the different forms and shapes of trees. To see a lonely tree or a group of trees, sometimes combined with other subjects in nature, is a wonderful impression. Combine the image of trees with a human being, a green meadow, a yellow field or even a simple wall and you will have the opportunity for a beautiful photograph. Light and cloud formations, and even moods, can almost transform a photo into a painting.

Most of my slides are taken with my Rokkor-tele-lens 135mm and wide angle lens 24mm, films are Ektachrome 100 and Fujichrome with 100 and 200 ASA.

The tree photographs accompanying this article were shot in Austria (mostly from my home town of Enns), Greece and France.

Manfred Gsteu, FPSA–Enns, Austria

COPYRIGHT 2003 Photographic Society of America, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group