Rogers Street 5, Atlanta
From the series Monster
17 x 22 inches
Courtesy of the artist
© 2010 Beth Lilly. All Rights Reserved
Like Bremner Benedict in her series Gridlines, the Atlanta-based photographer Beth Lilly also makes reference to the idea of hybrid beasts of our own making in her pictures of urban trees that have been trimmed by utility companies. Photographed in the southern United States during the winter, the skeletons of these contorted trees are clearly revealed because their leaves have fallen. Lilly decided to title her series Monster to reflect the grotesque forms of the trees but also to refer to the results of human tampering with nature. “Look at the street trees—they are funny and grotesque and beautiful and alive,” Lilly writes in her artist statement. “It’s a compromise that has worked, so perhaps there is hope.” She doesn't see her work as a call for sympathy for the trees but rather as an examination of how human beings affect the natural world and how the natural world adapts to these changes. Though we often take them for granted, trees have many important functions in sustaining life on earth, including providing food and homes for insects and wildlife.
Though the tree in this picture has been prevented from growing vertically, its will to survive has resulted in an impressive horizontal leap.