While recovering from a serious car accident in 2012, Mark Hirsch was inspired by a friend to use his iPhone to document a year-long photo-a-day project focusing on an old bur oak tree.
Hirsch, a career photojournalist as well as an artist and naturalist, embraced the challenge, resulting in a transformative experience of healing and self-discovery.
The project ultimately went viral, garnering international attention from broadcasters, magazines, newspapers, and online outlets around the world including CBS (“Sunday Morning”), NBC, NPR, PBS, the Sierra Club, Chicago Tribune, the Daily Mail (UK), the Guardian (UK), LeMonde, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Huffington Post.
The photos are the subject of the current exhibit and his coffee table book, “That Tree”.
Hirsch spent 20 years in the newspaper industry as a photojournalist, photo editor, and visuals editor before embarking on a freelance career in 2006 as an editorial, corporate, and landscape photographer. His clients include Getty Images, the New York Times, and the John Deere Corporation. He lives in Platteville, Wisconsin and works out of Dubuque, Iowa.
Mark Hirsch’s Artist Statement:
Trees resonate deeply in my soul. That Tree spoke to me of patience and dedication, hidden beauty and personal healing.
Nestled in a valley between two cornfields, she has witnessed a dramatic metamorphosis of the land. Where tall grass prairies once flourished, ox and plow have transformed the countryside. Through it all, That Tree has stood a silent sentinel adapting to the changes, be they from man or nature.
For an entire year using only my iPhone, I would quietly explore her valley and share in her wisdom through my visual discoveries in and around her realm.
I am humbled by the lessons I have learned and the simple beauty I have discovered through my friendship with a tree.
These images (presented on Mark’s website) represent a select view of the magical scenes I have witnessed in the valley of That Tree.
May her presence be forever on the horizon.