Mitch Epstein’s New York Arbor features 42 photographs of New York’s most characteristic and beautiful trees. Completed after his seminal American Power (Steidl, 2009), Epstein sought a lighter project without the reams of corporate red tape and something that would “honour, rather than mourn” nature. The shift to black and white is a notable departure in working practice, but it is a successful decision designed to focus our attention solely on the grand specimens themselves. Often shot in winter to reveal the full, glorious structure of the trees, and with a typically astute attention to the quality of light, we are presented with a slow burning but immensely pleasurable taxonomy of one of the few constants throughout “three centuries of rampant urbanisation”. We are reminded of the joy of discovery - of noticing the beauty in something you’ve walked past every day of your life and the pleasure that can come from slowing down, stopping and simply looking.
£38 / 96pp / June 2013 / Steidl
Reviewed by James D. Clark
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