Allen Russ

City of Trees

September 10-November 18, 2010

The tree has fostered many myths and icons. It is an image that is undoubtedly an archetype with origins from our beginnings.  From the Tree of Life to the Mesoamerican World Tree, or from the family tree that documents our varied heritage to the resemblance of our vascular system to a tree and its roots, we are metaphorically and literally linked to trees.


For the last few years I have been drawn to photograph trees for those same archetypal familiarities. As subjects, I have found them to be more intimate than my broad landscapes. Perhaps that intimacy is based on the knowledge that we live symbiotically alongside trees, or perhaps it is the knowledge that they have provided shelter, warmth and sustenance to our ancestors. I am enthralled by their forms and functions and savor the challenge of photographing them in a manner that makes it feel like you are close enough to touch them.

It is in the spirit of that link that I began the City of Trees series. I am honored to be working on this project with the goal of helping to fund the restoration and maintenance efforts of our National Mall. As an obligatory eighth-grade visitor to Washington, I failed to comprehend the significance of the National Mall and its memorials.  As time has passed, and I have had my own children and watched others’ go off to war, I have realized the greater significance of the National Mall.  Not only is it a memorial to the great sacrifices that have been made to create and protect our freedoms, it also continues to serve this greater purpose by being available to citizens for protest and celebration.  I am proud to be able to contribute to its preservation.

- Allen Russ