Art Exhibition: Richard Higgins Photography

March/April 2020 online exhibtion

An Eye for Trees: Images Inspired by Thoreau’s Way of Seeing Trees

Photographs by Richard Higgins

An online exhibition by Richard Higgins, the writer, photographer and author of the popular book Thoreau and the Language of Trees.

This exhibit is inspired by Thoreau’s way of seeing trees, which combined keen observation, poetic insight and a passion for their beauty. I mainly photograph common local trees, the same kinds of trees Thoreau saw everyday. If there’s an artistic aesthetic here, it’s seeing beauty in the ordinary—a skill Thoreau developed to a high degree. We only see when we look, he said, and he was ever looking to discern the expressions, beauty and character of trees. Thoreau had a deep knowledge of trees, but he also sought to see trees anew. My eye is strictly that of an amateur, but since “amateur” is from the French amour, to love, it was my great guide in these photographs. —Richard Higgins

Artist's Statement (PDF)

Contact Richard Higgins at:  rihiggins@comcast.net

Click on an image below to view the exhibtion.

AS HIGH A HEAVEN. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord. Photograph by Richard Higgins. The white pine “is as immortal as I am,” Thoreau said, “and perchance will go to as high a heaven, there to tower above me still.” White pines indeed tower over his grave, which is located just below the pines on the left in Sleepy Hollow. LIBRARY IN WOODS.   Photograph by Richard Higgins. BIRCH BY WALL. Photograph by Richard Higgins. PATH TO HEYWOOD'S MEADOW. Photograph by Richard Higgins. AN OCEAN OF MIST. Photograph by Richard Higgins. A PEN-AND-INK-DRAWING. Photograph by Richard Higgins. MCGRATH FARM BARN.  Photograph by Richard Higgins. THE POND IN WINTER. Walden Pond.   Photograph by Richard Higgins.   “Every winter the liquid and trembling surface of the pond  becomes solid to the depth of a foot or a foot and a half and is not to be distinguished from any level field. Standing on the snow-covered plain, I cut my way first through a foot of snow, and then a foot of ice, and open a window under my feet, where, kneeling to drink, I look down into the quiet parlor of the fishes, pervaded by a softened light as through a window of ground glass, with its bright sanded floor the same as in summer.”  — “The Pond in Winter,” Walden SWIRL.  Photograph by Richard Higgins. THE MAKER BUT PATENTED A LEAF.   Walden Pond.   Photograph by Richard Higgins.    To Thoreau, the leaf was nature’s universal form. He saw it not only in trees and vegetation, but also in bird feathers, the human hand, moose antlers and even cracks in a frozen pond. “The Maker of this earth,” he wrote in Walden, “but patented a leaf.” In the photo, what look like tree branches are fissures in a thickly frozen Walden in January 2018. A real leaf encased in the ice appears to hang on the end of a ghost “branch.” SHADOW TREE.   Photograph by Richard Higgins. TREES IN FIELD, NORTH BRIDGE. Photograph by Richard Higgins. A LOURING SKY.  Photograph by Richard Higgins. MOONLIT PINE RIDGE. Photograph by Richard Higgins. AGAINST THE SKY. Photograph by Richard Higgins. A MAPLE-LINED LANE. Photograph by Richard Higgins. BIG GUY. Woods near Spencer Brook, Concord.   Photograph by Richard Higgins.    This white oak in woods near Spencer Brook, which I call Big Guy, may have sprouted around when Thoreau did, in 1817, and is 19’, 6” in circumference—making it one of the town’s oldest and largest trees. It was once a mighty pasture tree. Recent years have not been kind to it. Storms have knocked off three of its massive leaders. Yet it stands its ground and braves those scars with great dignity. ORANGE FIRE. Photograph by Richard Higgins. SEA OF GREEN. The view from Fairhaven Cliff.   Photograph by Richard Higgins. OLD SUGAR MAPLE. Photograph by Richard Higgins. DUSK AT WALDEN. Photograph by Richard Higgins. MOUNTAIN POND AT SUNSET. Photograph by Richard Higgins. FLOWING REFLECTION. A reflected tree floats above a small waterfall.   Photograph by Richard Higgins. TREES IN FIELD, LEXINGTON.   Photograph by Richard Higgins.