Walking the dog with my smartphone led me to compile a series of photos of faces in trees over four years from 2016. These regular walks were the refresh I needed from my PhD research into property development pressures on Queensland’s Gold Coast. As I became adept at recognising faces in trees, I found my research veering toward consideration of ways of seeing culture in nature. In this personal essay, I contemplate frameworks for understanding how humans and trees might sense and communicate with each other. I draw on emotional geography, deep ecology and nature writing, responding to Robert Macfarlane’s exploration of landscape, Annie Dillard’s spiritual connection with trees and to poems and fiction in which trees are characters. The series of sixteen photos taken on the Gold Coast and in Canberra is a precursor to a poetical response to faces in trees.
Keywords: Trees; deep ecology; nature writing; emotional geography; visual poetics