Women in Trees

$25.00

The deceptive simplicity of Women in Trees

Women in Trees, a lovely little collection of some 50 vintage amateur photographs of, well, women in trees, is a true gem. Charming, endearing, and full of life, this diminutive volume provides a happy glimpse into forgotten moments from the past. What exactly these moments are is not always easy to determine, but the sincerity with which the women pose in their trees makes the activity feel like the most natural theme in the world.

And it’s true – people like to climb trees. But the subject matter of Women in Trees may be deceptively simple. While delighting in the joy of such moments, the photographs engage the reader in a number of complex questions regarding self-representation and the artistic intentions of this sort of amateur photography. 

The book also tangoes with the perennial tropes of women in nature. But the diverse array of images suggests that these relationships are as varied as the types and species of trees themselves. Where a short, stout stub of a tree provides the perfect place for a lady to recline for the camera, the wily branches of a taller, spindly tree require a bit more exertion. The more challenging photograph becomes something of a prize for the conqueror. 

Dutifully gathered at flea markets by historical amateur photography collector Jochen Raiss, Women in Trees, represents a personal collection of photographs in several senses. Not only do the photographs comprise a kind of unique treasure for Raiss himself, who used to carry the found pictures around as bookmarks, but they also each contain a private, maybe intimate, scene, played out between the knowing postures of the women and the invisible eye of the photographer. 

How fitting that the photos that once found homes between the pages of books now live on the pages themselves. How wondrous that someone saved these images and gave them new life, that each woman and each tree found a home amongst their likenesses. The book is a small blessing.

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Description

Women in Trees

Hatje Cantz

Hardcover, 4.75 x 6.75 in. / 112 pgs / 55 b&w.