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  • by Denise Roberts

TJ Watt: For the Forest

“These photographs will either serve as tools

-of preservation or live on as legacies of what

-unique and astounding places we once had.

-My fingers are crossed for the first option.”

---- TJ Watt

TJ Watt offers an invitation. The invitation is not to look at the two-dimensional surface of his work but to walk in, place yourself deep within the photograph, smell the fresh, moist air, and stare up at 1000-year-old trees in one of British Columbia’s old-growth forests. Watt creates space for the viewer to enter by using leading lines from the foreground that weave the viewer through the trees and deep into these ancient forests. There is a figure in many of his images to give the work a sense of scale and to encourage viewers to see themselves in the image. There is a hyper-realism to these richly textured works, accentuated by the sharp focus and majestic light. Watt encourages us to linger over the details, as our eyes explore the textures and hues of the trees, along with the mosses, lichens, and other plants that have taken root on the surface of the bark. Looking at these photographs gives one a sense of the fertile ground that nourishes these plants and the complex ecosystem that has evolved naturally for thousands of years.