Tasmania is home to the largest flowering tree in the world, the Swamp Gum, yet few people are aware that these giants exist in our own backyard. These trees regularly grow up to 85 metres in height, with the tallest living individual at 99.6 m high. When these giants are viewed from the ground, the majority of the tree is obscured from view and it is often impossible to get a sense of the full size of these trees. Imagine if we had a photographic image of a swamp gum taken from a level viewpoint, with climbers in the tree for a scale reference, so people could, for the first time, truly appreciate how massive these trees are?
Inspired by the National Geographic Redwood Portraits, the centrepiece of the Tasmanian Tree Project will be a high-resolution photographic portrait of a majestic Swamp Gum. We will capture an image of the tree from a level viewpoint to create a unique image without visual distortion. This will be achieved by installing a custom-built rigging system that runs the entire vertical length of the tree. Photos will be taken every metre along the vertical length and the final image will be created by digitally stitching together hundreds of photos. The end result will be an extraordinarily high quality, high resolution image with climbers in the tree to highlight how truly enormous these trees are. The image will be showcased in an exhibition in Hobart and Melbourne, be featured in a leading Australian magazine and will be displayed in public places such as museums and schools.
We feel that powerful images are the key to creating change. We want this image to do for the Swamp Gums what the National Geographic portrait has done for the redwoods: be a single striking image that conveys to the world how grand and beautiful these trees are. We feel that the Swamp Gum portrait will help promote the conservation of these forests, and help foster an appreciation and understanding for forests around the globe.
Funded by Melbourne (September 2015)