Pine Tree Ballads by Paul Thulin
Pine Tree Ballads by Paul Thulin
Dimensions: 9.75 x 9.75 inches
198 pages, 100 plates
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the early 1900s, artist Paul Thulin's great-grandfather settled on an island off the coast of Maine because it resembled his homeland of Sweden. Over a century later, his family returns to the same area, Gray's Point, each summer.
Throughout his life, Thulin's great-grandfather shared exquisitely detailed accounts of early settlers at the New England apple orchard; Such characters include a one-legged ship cook, a widowed schoolteacher, and an ingenious Native American blacksmith. The tales were an intricate mix of facts and lore that fueled the imagination and, on occasion, had the power to transform daily floorboard creaks and shadows into enduring ancestral spirits.
Pine Tree Ballads is a poetic memoir, featuring the artist’s daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother as a single protean character (or multiple characters?) vibrating in time, navigating the mysteries and menace of a shared ancestral forest. This deeply personal photographic sequence is part visual narrative of family myths and part origin story. Pine Tree Ballads is fueled by both truth and imagination, which, in many instances are the fundamental ingredients of our personal history. The "docu-literary" structure of this monograph celebrates and fully exploits the duplicitous nature of photography/text to be simultaneously interpreted as both fact and fiction. At the surface, this project explores the emotive, contextual, and material constructs of history, culture, personal identity, memory, and folklore.
Pine Tree Ballads is Thulin’s first book. With an afterword, by poet Dora Malech.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Paul Thulin’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally at United Photo Industries, NYC; Candela Gallery, Richmond Va.; Chicago Art Fair; PPAC, Philadelphia; AAC, Washington DC; Toronto Art Fair, Foto Gallery, Barcelona; Grand Prix Fotofestival Lodz, Poland; the Athens Photo Festival, Greece; the Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado; Mt. Rokko Photography Festival, Japan; the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards, Nera di Verzasca Photo Festival, Switzerland, FIF_BH - International Festival of Photography, Brazil; and the Noordelicht Photo Festival, The Netherlands.
Thulin has been the recipient of a variety of photographic prizes and awards including a 2001 TPI National Graduate Fellowship, a 2006 Virginia Commission for the Arts Artist Fellowship, 2013 Conveyor Magazine Exhibition Grant, 2015 Hariban Award Honorable Mention, 2015 Critical Mass Top 50, and the 2015 Lensculture Emerging Talent Grant. Pine Tree Ballads was highlighted in the May 2016 British Journal of Photography, and awarded the 2016 Renaissance Prize London for Best Series. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia and works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Photography and Film at Virginia Commonwealth University.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dora Malech is the author of three books of poetry: Shore Ordered Ocean, published by The Waywiser Press in 2009; Say So, published by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2011; and, most recently, Stet, selected by Susan Stewart for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and published by Princeton University Press in 2018. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The Best American Poetry, Poetry London, Tin House, Lana Turner, The New England Review, and The Kenyon Review. She is the recipient of awards that include an Amy Clampitt Residency Award from the Amy Clampitt Foundation, a Writer's Fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. She earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is an assistant professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.