Gerco de Ruijter is a photographer based in the Netherlands. About this work, Baumschule, a series of tree farms in Boskoop and Kesteren, he writes:
A patchwork quilt of very different, neighboring agribusinesses separated only by a narrow road or a ditch. Here a bald, recently plowed field; there a piece of land full of holes dug for future trees. I found an enormous variety of visual elements. They show up not just because of the different seasons, but also through the stratification of the land. Trees, soil, holes. The combination of a tight grid and the camera’s central perspective results in a distinct depth, while on a cloudy day foreground and background may slide into each other.
The landtract’s and the trees’ small scale (trees vary between 3′ and 12′ high) allowed me to adjust my technique. Instead of a kite I used a long fishing rod on some occasions. On top of this rod is a camera with a wide-angle lense. A self-timer is adjusted to give me enough time to telescope the rod and manoeuver the camera above the subject.
I am now finding I get more control of the ultimate image. In the well-defined organization of the tree farm I can choose to enter just one irregularity in the image. Or, I can set the frame exactly parallel to rows of trees. While working on this new series, I learned more about the functions of shadow and light; the relationships of foreground and background, and of the trees and the land where they are planted. Even though this series “Baumschule” deals with an extremely defined cultural landscape, it is the abnormalities that jump into view. The presence of all of these objects arranged to form rows creates a new form of abstraction, not because of the image’s emptiness but, to the contrary, because of the presence of so many “things”, and their patterns and rhythms.
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