The horizontal panorama can draw variegated aspects of the landscape into a single narrative embrace. With its elongated shape tilted vertically, the frame short on the sides, I angle for a top-heavy cinematic frame. Trees growing skywards can continue their story in the expanse of the vast possibility that lay above, pause on a precipice, unfold accordion-like or be squashed into an unimaginably small space pushing the edge. These photographs of vertical trees stand in opposition to the narrative structure of more traditional Western panoramic photographs. An exaggerated vertical form can make the trees totemic. Placing several frames together is an attempt to reference place and unfolding time and by doing so, to complicate, enlarge and exaggerate my perception and understanding of these highly individual, infinitely varied trees. I want my photographs to describe my relationship to both the tangible and the imagined, to fact and fiction.
Lois Conner is a landscape photographer. She has exhibited widely internationally and is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Library, London, among others. The Sackler Gallery in Washington (National Museum of Art) presented a retrospective of her work, Landscape as Culture in 1993. Recent exhibitions include solo shows in Hong Kong – Life in a Box – of her Office pictures, and in London Beijing Building of the changing nature of architecture in this city over the past 25 years. She is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including an Anonymous was a Woman Grant in 2008 and Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984. A book of her work, inspired, in part, by her fellowship year: China: The Photographs of Lois Conner was published by Callaway, New York in 2000. Upcoming publications are: Beijing: Contemporary and Imperial (to coincide with the 2014 exhibition at the Cleveland Art Museum of Art); American Trees, which will be published by the Yale Art Gallery next year and Lotus. Lois has taught photography for the past 30 years, most extensively at Yale University, Princeton and Sarah Lawrence College.