Useless tree

At one time Alexander Brodsky used to take photos of old garages, while John Pawson - of the sky. Both saw in it architectural value, albeit this value was personal. Perhaps if one wants to learn how to create simple and comprehensible design, first one has to learn to see beauty in the mundane, to understand the nature of these simple things: how the owners of those garages adapted the standard soviet structure to their needs or how atmospheric pollution in different regions changes the colour of sky.

In this photo-essay I study trees. In a way, a tree is similar to a building: it is standing upright above the ground. Despite the generic design, in reaction to the environmental conditions each sapling grows to be a unique example of “tree architecture”.

The photos were taken in forests around Minsk and Brussels between 2015 and 2021. Every tree was nameless and most of them were strangely twisted and not suitable for timber.

P.S. Below is a quote about a useless tree from the book “How to do nothing” by Jenny Odell. “The useless Tree” - from Zhuangzi… The story is about a carpenter who sees a tree of impressive size and age. But the carpenter passes it right by, declaring it a “worthless tree” that has only gotten to be this old because its gnarled branches would not be good for timber. Soon afterwords, the tree appears to him in a dream and asks, “Are you comparing me with those useful trees?” The tree points out to him that fruit trees and timber trees are regularly ravaged. Meanwhile, uselessness has been this tree’s strategy: “This is of great use to me. If I had been of some use, would I ever have grown this large?”