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Image of a tree with pale leaves against the backdrop of a misty stand of other trees.
Image of a tree with pale leaves against the backdrop of a misty stand of other trees.

Voices of TAM: Addison Gregory Reflects on “Irving Park Tree, Study 2, Portland, Oregon, USA”

I had the amazing opportunity to attend Michael Kenna’s seminar at the TAM. To paraphrase, during the talk Mr. Kenna had said that there is no motive or intention behind his photographs except to capture a beautiful image. This really resonated with me at the time and I feel you see that so clearly in his work. Mr. Kenna is such a master of composition and contrast that he is able to create a gorgeous image from something that would appear so ordinary.
Image of a tree with pale leaves against the backdrop of a misty stand of other trees.
Michael Kenna. “Irving Park Tree, Study 2, Portland, Oregon, USA,” 2006. Sepia-toned gelatin silver print, 7 3/4 × 7 3/4 in. (19.7 × 19.7 cm). Tacoma Art Museum. Gift of the artist.
In the case of, Irving Park Tree, Study 2, Portland, Oregon, USA, there is both an incredible amount of depth combined with an innate familiarity of place. While looking at this photograph it feels both like I have been there while also appearing transportive and surreal. If anything, Michael Kenna’s work makes me stop and appreciate my surroundings for their natural beauty.

Michael Kenna has inspired some of my own very amateur photographs through the years.

Black and white close cropped shot of a maple tree.
Maple Tree, Fircrest, WA
Black and white tilted angle view of a high rise building in Chicago.
Chicago

By Addison Gregory, TAM Board of Trustees