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Mitch Epstein

New York Arbor
Mitch Epstein's new work is a series of photographs of the idiosyncratic trees that inhabit New York City; these pictures underscore the importance of trees to urban life and their complex relationship to their human counterparts. Rooted in New York's parks, gardens, sidewalks, and cemeteries, some trees grow wild, some are contortionists adapting to their constricted surroundings, and others are pruned into prize specimens. Many trees are hundreds of years old and arrived in New York as souvenirs and diplomatic gifts from abroad. As urban development closes in on them, New York's trees surprisingly continue to thrive. The cumulative effect of these photographs is to invert people's usual view of their city: trees no longer function as background, but instead dominate the human life and architecture around them.