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. It was time for a new seasonal series! So I continued to photograph the tree over twelve months to explore the changes in light, colour and form as time passed.

I could be 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. I wondered if the cows would visit regularly and if the tree would wither or thrive. All I knew was that a tree’s world is constantly changing.

The timing turned out to be fortunate. The final image was made in February of 2020, just before a series of strict lockdowns were introduced which would have cut the project short, something I could never have predicted or imagined. The final image captures the effects 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 and perhaps a timely reminder of the path we need to chart for future generations.

With such significant world 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 provided endless moods and mixtures which come together in unexpected ways, stirring reflection on our own seasons in life. 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.

John Hardiman
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