Photographer Chuck Hemard grew up in southern Mississippi’s Pine Belt, a region named after the longleaf pine trees that abound there. In 2010 he began a seven-year photographic study of the landscape of his childhood, making what he refers to as “portraits” of the trees and surrounding land. The images are published in Hemard’s first monograph: The Pines (Daylight Books, February 13, 2018).
Before the Europeans arrived in America, the longleaf pine was the keystone species of a southern coastal plane covering nearly 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas. In the late 19th and early 20th century the pine was nearly wiped away by human action.
In the foreword to The Pines, Hemard writes: “These photographs represent places that have stood the test of time, including lightning, hurricanes, tornados, and the exponentially more damaging threat of human intervention. I approach these places with a sense of respect, that they might teach us new things if we can slow down and tune in…I hope they might provoke us to ask questions about our role in all this.”
Hemard is a lifelong resident of the American south. His recent photographs, mostly made with large format film cameras, explore the complexities of contemporary landscape.
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