Artist: Bruce Murray
I have been an artist since a child and in a professional capacity, since about 20 years old. I have practiced many mediums including, pencil, watercolor, acrylic and as a training in art school, fine art printmaking/etching/aquatint. This is the medium I became accomplished in and produced in Calgary Alberta, Canada, in the studio of John K Esler and learned much about production printing and multi-plate color printing in the hand pulled process.....But I got married ( sounds like a bad turn of events with the "but" ) and started a family which grew with time to nine children and somewhere in the equation, I more or less quit doing any art even though I had my own studio and press. I became a carpenter, mechanic, plumber, as well as doing a regular job. In 2006 I happened to acquire a point and shoot digital camera and started the ball rolling. My father having been a professional forester all his life had instilled in us the appreciation of the woods. Wanting to do a print series around tree images had been in my thoughts for a while. With this new media and no time for etching, I took my first vertical pan of a tree in May of 2007. To say the least, the results were a great surprise. Now, with one shot I could gather a full tree portrait and show the true character of a tree image. Far from being a scientific account, I was seeing many of the qualities that described a tree and it's individuality.
In many ways I see the tree as a metaphor for life/death and though the images have strong aesthetic appeal, the theme runs through the series. I am following the tree images through the seasons to cover the whole of it's visual and visceral manifestations. Trees show much of what we enter in our life; growth, reproduction, struggle to thrive and survive, disease, dismemberment, great age and youthfulness....death. They have a presence and it is my goal that the images I make will represent the dimension of height that helps to give this sense. I have broad panoramic scapes of the inner woods that help to see them as a kind of community, gathering their food from the sun, such as in the pictures Lifefire and Fish and Loaves. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do making them, which I would continue to do even if no else did, having purposed to see the individual trees that can be obscured by the "forest."
I gather these images with multiple shots of a tree on my Canon EOS 40D Digital Single Lens Reflex camera with a 28mm-135mm Canon zoom lens. At the studio they are processed with Photoshop CS3 in a photomerge program. Any changes and artistic alterations desired are done here. Once finished, I print in any size I desire ( in the images proportions) on my 24" Epson Stylus Pro Printer. This is an eight color large format inkjet printer, similar to the ones we all have at home with our desktops only bigger and specialized. These printers are creating a renaissance in the photography world, allowing the printing of very large photos with intimate detail and color accuracy with archival security. These prints, mounted and laminated, will last generations with no change in appearance. I like to print as large as possible and have tree images up to 7' tall. One might think that this is too big for a home yet there are many narrow walls and stairwells that suit these large "upright pans" very well and compared to the price of a painting in similar sizes, are a very good investment. I also have horizontal pans which can find many places to be hung and with the changes in image display on computers and tv's to widscreen, seem to suit our changing tastes. The printer also can print on canvas. Where it seems to justify an image, I will use it. They are coated with the same acrylic varnish as an acrylic painting and will last equally as long and have a more painterly effect.