That Tree

By Mark Hirsch.

A photo journal documenting a year in the life of a lonely bur oak in Platteville, Wisconsin.

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By Mark Hirsch.

A photo journal documenting a year in the life of a lonely bur oak in Platteville, Wisconsin.

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Data sheet

Author Mark Hirsch
ISBN 978-0-615-80442-2
Publisher Press Syndication Group

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Mark Hirsch is a professional photograher who was in need of an artistic refresh in 2012. He took up a challenge offered by a friend to use a lowly smartphone camera to capture images of a bur oak, located in a field outside of Platteville, Wisconsin, every day for a full year.

The book he created provides stunningly beautiful images with each turn of the page. Its a perfect gift for any Midwestern nature lover. Each photo captures the bur oak in some context--sometimes the image is just a leaf or an insect on the bark, other times it's whole tree in its grandeur. It's really difficult to express in words the range of scenes Hirsch created with this single tree and the stunning quality of those images. Even more impressive, he captured all those scenes, those angles, those moods, those close-ups and moon-lit shots, with a lowly iPhone 4s.

This book is a testament both to the beauty of our native bur oaks and the natural community that surrounds them, but also to what a real artist can do with a simple tool like a smartphone camera. You’ll never look at your own smartphone images, or a lonely bur oak off in a field, the same way, again.

From The Publisher:

Trees resonate deeply in the souls of millions of people. That Tree spoke to photographer Mark Hirsch of patience and dedication, hidden beauty and personal healing. Using only his iPhone, for an entire year Hirsch would quietly coax her stories and share her wisdom with an inspired and passionate Facebook following. Now that story of discovery and healing has been captured in his first book, "That Tree : An iPhone Photo Journal Documenting a Year in the Life of a Lonely Bur Oak." Hirsch was just out of college when he landed his dream job photographing life along the Mississippi River for the Telegraph-Herald in Dubuque, Iowa. He loved his job and moved steadily up through the ranks. He thought he would retire there but after 19 years, Hirsch was let go. It felt like he had been hit by a truck but Hirsch managed to build a freelance career. Then in 2011, he was literally hit by a truck and almost killed. After the crash Hirsch was unable to work. Then Hirsch bought his first iPhone. One day, on his way home in the middle of a January snow storm, Hirsch took his first picture with the iPhone and was instantly hooked! Something about That Tree caught Hirsch's eye that day, he's not sure why. He'd driven past That Tree nearly every day for 19 years but never really looked at it. Hirsch decided to make a photo of That Tree every day for a year. Before sunrise, after sunset, anytime really, he was there waiting and watching, taking note of the simple beauty he had missed for so long. A nest of eggs beneath her branches, a darting blackbird, the sun setting on the horizon beyond That Tree. The valley of That Tree became for Hirsch a foreign land full of strange and wonderful discoveries. That Tree had spoken to Hirsch of patience and dedication. It gave him healing and inspiration and it taught him to slow down, take time to look around and appreciate the almost, but not quite, hidden beauty that abounds in our world. Sometimes even in your own backyard.

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