NostalgiaMigranta

11 Dec 2007 1,079 views
 
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photoblog image Sketches from the West Coast: The Tree of Life

Sketches from the West Coast: The Tree of Life

From time to time late at night I dig into my photo archive just to sit quietly and look at this picture.

It happened a few years ago in San Francisco at the Japanese Tea garden. When  I saw this pine tree, I realized that I was looking at my own warped life with its myriads of twists and unexpected turns, miserable failures and stubborn rise-ups.  

That's the closest I can come up with to Mal's request for a self-portrait. :-)

 

Sketches from the West Coast: The Tree of Life

From time to time late at night I dig into my photo archive just to sit quietly and look at this picture.

It happened a few years ago in San Francisco at the Japanese Tea garden. When  I saw this pine tree, I realized that I was looking at my own warped life with its myriads of twists and unexpected turns, miserable failures and stubborn rise-ups.  

That's the closest I can come up with to Mal's request for a self-portrait. :-)

 

comments (28)

  • ray
  • Thailand
  • 11 Dec 2007, 00:11
Tortured, or tortuous, that is the question!
This tree's chaos of branches as an analogy of your life suggests you have had an interesting one, VZ.
That so many of the gnarly branches still have evidence of vibrant life at the furthest ends suggests it is still interesting, and will be for some time to come.
It is a fine image, but I don't know you well enough to say if it is a good portrait.
vz-nostalgia: Tortured or tortuous...what a great question! The line could be as blurry as between hope and delusion. smile
  • Martin
  • United States
  • 11 Dec 2007, 00:55
Intricate, yet well organized. I like this a lot! Have you been looking at too many Van Gogh pictures recently?
vz-nostalgia: I've been looking at Van Gogh pictures since I was a kid in college, Martin. Never stopped looking since. smile
  • Richa
  • United States
  • 11 Dec 2007, 05:09
Wow...amazing shot. I was stunned for few moments. It almost looks artificial due to its complexity ... But guess nature is far more complex than human mind..
vz-nostalgia: I'd say yes, but the fact is that human mind IS a part of nature, Ms. Richa. smile
  • Ginnie
  • United States
  • 11 Dec 2007, 06:27
From what I know of you thus far, Viktor, my guess is that this is a very fine self-portrait! smile You are every bit as interesting, intricate, expansive, fascinating and convoluted as this tree! HA! I love it! And I can hardly wait to meet you in the New Year!!! (Maybe I'll be the one to get the portrait Mal wants, even though you may forbid the camera!)
vz-nostalgia: We'll meet at the camera-free zone, Ms. Ginnie. That was the deal, remember? smile
A life full of trials and tibulations, but full of determination to overcome and succeed. Gorgeous shot of a really fascinating tree. (:o)
vz-nostalgia: I'm glad it fascinates you as much as it does me, Ms. Roz.
  • Scarlet
  • Netherlands
  • 11 Dec 2007, 09:48
Thanks God for that Viktor. It tells me you are interesting as a person as your shots are.
vz-nostalgia: Don't trust any man, Ms. Scarlet, no matter what he says of himself. smile
This is so impressive, the way its branches are tortured... effective point of view too...
vz-nostalgia: Tortured or tortuous, that's the question, as Ray said. smile
I thought this was an amazing image, when I read your comment with it, I realized this is way more than that, for that a LIKEY. it true when thay say a picture speaks more than a thousand words, for you this tells your life story, love the selfportrait, I think the cahllenge is now to Mal again wink
vz-nostalgia: Yeah, the challenge is now back to Mal. Let's see, if he can beat this one. smile
  • mal
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Dec 2007, 13:21
what a wonderful metaphor to make about your life VZ. Well, there may be complicated twists and turns in your life and periods of baron leafless winters but the tree looks strong and healthy right now to me Viktor, so enjoy what you have now, appreciate the past but don't live there. lovely photograph. mal
vz-nostalgia: Those memories, they are like hot flashes, they come and go, and there is nothing you can do about it.
smile
Great shot. What a tortuous pattern. I like the texture
vz-nostalgia: smile, Richard.
  • L.Reis
  • Portugal
  • 11 Dec 2007, 18:53
You have a superb life drawing! And you still have space for lots of twist, turns ... the failures will have to stop, because I can see no place for them there grin
vz-nostalgia: Ha-ha. In this case I got to make some room for my failures, Lina. As the French proverb goes "only he who does nothing makes a mistake".
smile Z
  • Kathryn
  • Germany
  • 11 Dec 2007, 19:15
It is those twists and unexpected turns that make this tree rare in its complexity and intrigue. Parts of it seem hard, rough, dark, and unable to be untangled, while other areas seem so extraordinarily uncomplicated and glow in a smooth polished type way. The small branches in the background make me wonder in which direction this tree will grow next.

VZ, count your blessings if this is tree is a representation of your life.
vz-nostalgia: I don't think even the tree itself knows in which direction it will grow. It will respond to the circumstances. That's why I look at life as one very long jazz composition. And you twist, and you turn, and you improvise, all depends on what's happening around you. smile
And what a self-portrait it is, very organic and intricate shapes and lines
vz-nostalgia: And the best part of it, Aksel, there is nothing I can do about it. Can't change a thing.
smile
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 11 Dec 2007, 22:28
Great picture and interpretation(s). That must have been quite a tea session.

You can get closer to mal's request - cameras have self timers. Being prepared to come closer is something else again smile

The picture also demonstrates something else about a life's view - the question of where to focus...
vz-nostalgia: Hey Louis. You don't even know how close you are with your remark about a lack of focus. But what can we do, man? There are so many interesting things out there. It would be a pity to square yourself to one or two things...As a multi-tasking man yourself, I think you understand. smile
  • Ann
  • 12 Dec 2007, 21:50
A concentration of knots ... I love disentangle them when it's wool, but I think I can't do anything for this tree ... I'm sorry ... Very nice photo !!! I put it in my likeys ...
vz-nostalgia: I'm afraid you're right, Ms. Ann, there is nothing you can do to untangle those knots. It took me a lifetime to tangle them up. smile
That is life alright. Excellent shot.
vz-nostalgia: I agree, Mike. That life is alright. smile
  • Ellie
  • damp
  • 13 Dec 2007, 00:02
I think you should print this and hang it on the wall near your computer so you won't have to dig it out.

I think it's a superb picture, but I'm not really sure why. I could look at it for ages and will store it in my 'likeys'

Thank you so much for sharing this one, it's clearly one of your personal favourites.
vz-nostalgia: Hi Ms. Ellie. You're in dampy England. I'm in droughty Georgia (still no rain here).
A friend of mine bought a large print of this, and he said the same thing, he can look at this for ages. Apparently, people draw their own associations and apply their own experiences to the photographs like this. smile
  • Kay
  • Wet and rainy Pacific Northwest
  • 13 Dec 2007, 02:27
Wow, this looks like the tree shot I took in SF last month. Will be posting it in a few days. Nicely done!
vz-nostalgia: Wet and Rainy...mmmm...sounds like a dream for droughty Georgia. I'd love to see your version, Ms. Kay.
  • terry
  • Nepal
  • 13 Dec 2007, 06:40
the fact that you have identified your Self with your experiences and your reaction to those experiences is remarkable. a pleasure to get to know you, Vik smile
vz-nostalgia: Sorry, I wasn't in my best shape to be presented for our meeting, Terry. Ha-ha. A bit worn out, as you can see. smile
  • Babak
  • Tehran
  • 13 Dec 2007, 09:20
amazing!!!
vz-nostalgia: that's exactly what I said, when I saw it for a first time, Babak.
  • Astrid
  • The Netherlands
  • 13 Dec 2007, 19:58
Viktor, this is the most beautiful selfportret I have ever seen, ones life is not a paved one, it has sudden turns, twists, fall backs, go lefts and go rights, that makes us strong people I am sure it does!!!! thanks for sharing this wonderful tree of life
vz-nostalgia: The sudden twists and turns might make some people stronger, Ms. Astrid, but others, they might break them in half. Too bad I have no answer to where to find the golden middle that lies in between those two. smile
  • Gale
  • South Africa
  • 17 Dec 2007, 07:02
Excellent capture. Such an amazing tree. Yes I can feel the torture here. It certainly churned up many interesting comments.
vz-nostalgia: Hello, Ms. Gale. You even took the time to read the comments! (a rare thing nowadays smile)
  • Ron S
  • Worcester
  • 6 Jan 2008, 20:20
Fine reflections for a Japanese Garden - you've given us all something to think about. The power of the image.
vz-nostalgia: You put it well, Ron. That is exactly why I'm here: to make folks think, while looking at my pictures. smile
smile
so how many times did you shed your skin so far?
vz-nostalgia: So many times, I stopped counting, Ms. Dori. smile
What brought you so far deep into my archive? smile
VZ: What brought you so far deep into my archive?
Dori: i like to wander around your archive smile
your mission of making people think when looking at your photos is accomplished with me smile
although probably most of the time i deviate from your initial intention smile
vz-nostalgia: smile you deviate from my initial intention? smile Well, there is nothing wrong with that per se. In fact, I'll tell you more: I like it. smile
It may be warped, twisted and full of turns, failures and rise-ups, but there is still mystery and beauty within this portrait smile
vz-nostalgia: I guess it depends on who's looking, Ms. Linda. smile The image has 600 something views and only 30 something comments. Apparently, not everyone thinks as you do. smile
It also says clever and interesting! smile
  • iris
  • Germany
  • 13 Jun 2010, 06:15
Your response to Astrid's comment is axactly what I thought, when I saw this picture and read your note. Unfortunately not everyone gains strength. Those people, who do so, are blessed, though. Their life is becoming richer with every experience, for they know about it's worth. I doubt that there is a golden middle.
vz-nostalgia: :
Iris: I doubt that there is a golden middle.
VZ: There should be one, Ms.Iris, as extremes are always harsh on us. It was ancient Greeks who noticed that and incorporated it into their philosophy (check Aristotle's "Golden Mean"). They strived to get everything in balance, into the right proportions, to reach harmony in all aspects of their life. I think we blew it. smile We strayed away too far from those ideals. smile
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