The Valley Library has another resident scholar lecture coming up soon. Melody Owen is a visual artist based in Portland that has shown her work all across the country as well as in Europe. She has completed residencies in France, Switzerland, and Iceland among several other locations.
Owen conducted research in the Valley Library’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center last autumn and focused on historic images of foresters and others working in the woods. Her talk titled “Tree Rings” will be delivered on Thursday, June 16 at 2:00 p.m. in the Willamette East Room on the library’s third floor. We’ll hope to see you there, and her description of her presentation is below.
This talk will report on my exploration of human/tree portraiture in early 20th century photography, as culled from the Gerald W. Williams Collection [at the Valley Library]. This genre includes photographs usually taken to emphasize the tree’s grand majesty, beauty, strangeness and/or size compared to the relative smallness of a person, as well as those that show off the human’s bravado and skills in cutting them down. The title of my talk references both the rings inside a tree’s trunk that indicate its age, as well as a type of picture in which people hold hands and form a ring around a tree, sometimes to show its size and sometimes to protect it. —Melody Owen