Our Tree in the making

It’s been around three months since I’ve received photos and videos from Our Tree project contributors. At last count 708 individual photos and a handful of videos, mostly from the 30 November 2013 public unveiling of The Tree, have been sent through.

With The Tree being prepared for its life in the open I took the opportunity to shoot some additional interviews and as much detail of The Tree as possible. This I was able to achieve the Our Tree’s Director of Photography, Mike Wilkson. Mike was keen to work with me after seeing The Tree at the Whittlesea Showgrounds. We’ve literally forged a unique collaboration that will see us work together for this and I suspect many other projects to come.

Mike shot some of the loveliest detail you will see of The Tree using both 50mm and 100mm lenses and a Cineslider.

Detail of copper and stainless steel foliage.
Detail of copper and stainless steel foliage.
Detail of one of the branches.
Detail of one of the branches.

A couple of weeks ago I was grateful to have been given a box of mini-DV tapes, footage shot by local film-maker Warwick Page, covering the around the first two years of The Blacksmith’s Tree in the making.

Ten tapes all up, eight of which could be viewed and digitized. An unusual error prevented me from seeing two of these tapes. In spite of that, there’s 127 gigabytes of video to work with.

There’s video covering the first public events blacksmith’s held in St Andrews, Hilderbrand Road and Eltham. Including the first meetings with engineers and interviews with key personnel and the individuals from Black Saturday fire affected communities.

Doug Tarrent, St Andrews, 2009.
Doug Tarrent, St Andrews, 2009. Courtesy Warwick Page.

I’m currently working on an Our Tree 10 minute micro-doc which will comprise one of three video channels for exhibition. With a core team now working with me, including emerging producer Laura Emerick, and colleagues at the City of Whittlesea, Dunmoochin and The Tree Project itself, I’m hoping the micro-doc will be a precursor to a full length documentary covering both the local and international stories that have given life to The Blacksmith’s Tree.

Andrew Garton

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