When I found this tree in the Yarra Valley, perched on a set of hills with a character reminiscent of the scenes I drew as a child, I knew I had found the right place. So I continued to photograph the tree over twelve months to explore the changes in light, colour and form as time passed. I was fairly sure the land would transition from yellows to greens and back again, but I could not have predicted the fall of light at different times of year or the colours and patterns in the sky.

The timing was fortunate. The twelve month series finished in February of 2020, just before a series of strict COVID lockdowns were introduced which would have cut the project short. The final image captures the effect of another major event and is stained by smoke haze from the 2019-2020 bushfire season, one of the most extensive bushfires in recorded history.

With significant events on our shoulders, I had to question why a project about a tree should be of any consequence at all, yet I find it even more compelling now. Shifting skies and tinted landscapes have come together in unexpected ways, stirring reflection on our own seasons. That so much can be discovered in the simplest of things says a lot for the life of a tree, and its time and place in the landscape.

An extra image has been added to the series which records the trees eventual destruction after severe storms.

John Hardiman
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