Elliot Schildkrout – Homage to the Forest

2 minute read

I have always loved the forest, particularly it’s quiet. I have begun meditating over the years, and the forest became a welcome chapel for me to find what I could of inner presence.

I live a lot of my time in the Berkshires and roam the forests here and elsewhere with my camera, trying to capture something of my experience of their transformative majesty. I tried writing about that. Over this last year, I began “painting with my camera”, creating in camera multiple imagery that tries to express my love and gratitude for the woods. At times, I feel sorrow and shame for the way we have changed the environment and made the tree’s future so ambiguous at best. That pain and fear is sometimes what I think enters my photographs as well.

I’ve always loved a good forest, one that hints at a presence that has always been and might, if left to its own, always be.  As I get older, now in my 70s, something has changed between the trees and me.  Our relationship is better.  I feel their generosity flowing into me; their simple kindness of just being, without giving it a thought, each unique, each connected to the other, to the ground, to the air, and the pleasure of water.  They dance to wind with quiet grace.  And then as almost an afterthought, the crazy riot of green, the signature of bark, the flawless architecture, built to foster without intention, their endless search for the light.  They teach me to be and give up just a bit of my endless doing.

And oh, do I love them in winter, having shed their leaves, like lovers departing separately from their bed.  They rest in majesty, arms held out, to let the snow sculpt pure white wonder. 

I come to feel their secrets, and then to draw them with my camera.  I try, but I know, their presence is more than I, at least, can give proper homage to.  I close my eyes and bow to them, the gratitude of a student to his teacher.

Find Elliot here: www.elliotschildkroutphotography.com