Many moons ago when I was in the 7th grade...ahem 12 years ago, our teacher took us to the Botanical Gardens to practice our black and white photography. We had to find one object in the park that really stood out to us and we had to photograph that from all angles. I happened upon a large tree with a giant bending branch coming out of the bottom of the trunk growing nice and strong next to Henry Shaw's old home. Something about this tree just seemed strong and stable and comforting so I decided to use that as my subject.
That same year my parents decided to plant a tree in Benton ,Illinois in honor of my Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Brown. They had been residents of Benton for many many years and my parents had the wonderful idea to plant a tree to represent them in the community. My dad, being graphically talented like he is, decided to make a card to give to them to explain the gift. Well he happened to choose that black and white picture I took of that tree months before. I thought it was very fitting because my Great Grandpa, as fragile as he may have seemed at his age, was a strong and firmly rooted man, who was able to bring great comfort and reliability to the family. He was a gentle man offering up unconditional love, much like a tree offers up its shade.
When he passed away it really shook my world and woke me up to realize how important it was to cherish your family and your life.
Now when I visit the Botanical Gardens I always walk to that tree and in my head I say hello to Grandpa Brown. This past weekend when Josh and I were at the Botanical Gardens for the Japanese Festival I decided to try and recreate the picture I took 12 years ago. I know this post really isn't about photography that much, it's more about a memory associated with a picture, but that's part of photography, finding out what inspires you and moves you.
So here 12 years later, is Leland's Tree.