The twisted shapes of ancient Redwood roots caught Ted Barkhorn’s eye on a leisurely afternoon hike one day a few years ago, leading him to begin photographing these gnarled and intertwined forms, expressions of the natural world. Barkhorn discovered these giant roots in New Paltz, New York where a millworker had them shipped cross country to create a display, homage to the beauty of these majestic trees brutally harvested from the 1860s until 1930 in Northern California. Each ancient Redwood root has its own meaning to Barkhorn, its own personalized iconography, its own connection to the voices of uplifting writers and spiritually-minded visionaries whose words interpret the images.
Chronicling the forms in his contemporary photography, Barkhorn quotes Thoreau, "It is not what you look at that matters. It is what you see." He invites viewers to bring their own vision to each image; to see what’s implied not simply what’s immediately visible. Scientifically speaking this phenomenon is known as Pareidolia, envisioning faces or perhaps, animals or other recognizable representations of nature in clouds, trees, or rocks. Though we all experience this intuitively, Barkhorn perceives Pareidolia as an art form with spiritual implications. He has dedicated himself to capturing a magical, mysterious even supernatural perspective on the natural world.
Ted Barkhorn is an acclaimed photographer recognized for his daring work for leading pharmaceutical companies before transitioning into landscaping as a life endeavor. Now combining both passions, Ted brings a tremendous understanding of nature to his work and his art. His true connection to the earth and sky has been fostered over the decades as he has been involved in the world of landscaping design since childhood. A family man now, living in Northern New Jersey, he has returned to his own roots, so to speak, merging his path as an artist with his commitment to nurturing the earth.
The pyramidal shape of these twisted Redwood roots appears as Ted Barkhorn found it in nature.
To Barkhorn, it brings to mind the classicism of Michelangelo’s famed sculpture, so it is called Nature's Pieta. But it is the words of naturalist Henry David Thoreau that capture the idea behind this work and the body of Ted Barkhorn’s work, “It is not what you look at that matters. It is what you see."