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What happens to leaves
When they fall off trees?

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Statement of Intent

This photographically illustrated book created primarily for children audience tells an unusual rhyming story of a northern red oak tree leaf that seeks an answer to the question what happens to leaves when they fall off trees.

When the coldest and dreariest days of the year come, it is time for leaves to end their active life cycle and make space for the next season's leaves. Similarly, all living organisms, including humans, have a certain life cycle to follow and it is only natural for one to wonder what happens after one dies. Explaining the topic of death to children can be a particularly difficult task that should be done in a gentle manner so that children see death as a part of one's life and are encouraged to think about their deceased family members with love and respect. This unusual tale serves as a starting point for a deeper discussion between an adult and a child around the topic of life after death.

With influences in photography from sources as diverse as constructed realities in photographically illustrated children storybooks (like David Robinson's storybooks “The Mushroom Picker” and “Penny Bun Helps Save the World”, as well as Nancy Roses's storybook “The Secret Life of Squirrels”), bird and nature photography (to name a few, Masahisa Fukase's photographs of ravens, Matthew Maran's bird and nature photographs, Sunder Ramu's photographs of leaves, Traci Griffin's mirroring 

photographs of trees and Charles Pratt's nature photography), as well as experimental photography techniques (particularly Jan Kapoor's and Derrick Busch’s toned cyanotypes, and Rick McGinni's experiments with a pinhole body cap), this project photographically illustrates an interactive rhyming story with bird and nature photography, highlighting arbitrary connections in nature that lead to new meanings by combining, cropping, cutting, adjusting, rearranging, flipping and mirroring digital photographic images to achieve unusual combinations which the viewer can decipher together with the complementing textual information. Further inspiration for this body of work comes from Anne van Leeuwen's handcrafted paper, Irving Teibel's nature sounds, Pablo Picasso's painting “Weeping Woman”, Anne Marie Zilberman's painting “Freya's Tears”, Suzanne Simard's book “Finding the Mother Tree”, Wallace Steven's poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and Carlo Collodi's fictional character Pinocchio.

Besides digital photographic images, the project includes also work done with other photographic techniques such as a pinhole body cap on a digital camera, reverse lens on a digital camera and a cyanotype print, as well as it includes work from other mediums like handmade paper and a nature sound track, allowing the playfulness and experimentation to further enrich the project and proving an opportunity for a child to interact with the book by actively involving visual sense in combination with textual information and auditory and tactile senses, achieving a more complex engagement with the book.

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