I’ve taken pictures of tree stumps and the grain of natural chunks of tree on many occasions before (see here, here and here for some of the better examples), and my motivation and focus have always been colour, texture, form.
This time it was different, though: it struck me that there was more of a story to be told in a shot of this tree stump. It’s not any beauty of the grain that attracted me, nor particular colours, shapes, or light, nor the challenge of trying to capture in visual terms that resinous scent of sap that freshly cut wood exudes.
Here the sawn-off point where there was once a branch struck me so much more strongly as an injury, an amputation, the image of something cut short in its prime. It’s the context that enables me to attempt to show that here: I started by shooting from another angle where the light fell more flatteringly, artistically. But then it was just another tree stump, a rather unattractive one at that. Only after I moved around and changed the background to juxtapose it with its obviously fertile, beautiful, infinitely more eyecatching neighbour could it actually tell its story.