Meaning and Association of Trees

What does a Tree symbolise?

Trees have always been used as a symbol for many different things. One of the most famous metaphors  with trees would be the “Tree of Life”.

Quote 1:

“The concept of a tree of life has been used in Science, Religion, philosophy, and mythology. A tree of life is a common motif in various world theologys, mythologies, and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a methphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense. The term tree of lifemay also be used as a synonym for sacred tree.”

This quote talks about how a tree is in itself “life”.The reason trees are seen this way is because they are one of the oldest living things on our planet and without trees our planet would not survive.

When a tree is symbolised as the tree of life in photography it is shown to be a strong and powerful structure like in the image below:

Image 1

As you can see in this image everything from the structure and layout of the image to the powerful contrast in colours projects power, peace and life.

Different “breeds” of trees symbolise different things for example:

Quote 2:

  • Apple tree symbolism- magic, youth, beauty, happiness
  • Ash tree symbolism – sacrifice, sensitivity and higher awareness
  • Aspen tree symbolism- determination, overcoming fears and doubts
  • Beech tree symbolism- tolerance, past knowledge, softens over criticism
  • Birch tree symbolism- new beginnings, cleansing of past, vision quests
  • Cedar tree symbolism- healing, cleansing, protection
  • Cherry tree symbolism – death and rebirth, new awakenings
  • Cypress tree symbolism – understanding the role of sacrifice
  • Elder tree symbolism- birth and death, fairy realm
  • Elm tree symbolism- strength of will, intuition
  • Hazel tree symbolism- hidden wisdom, dousing, divination
  • Heather tree symbolism- healing from within, immortality, initiation
  • Holly tree symbolism- protection, overcoming of anger, spiritual warrior
  • Maple tree symbolism- balance, promise, practicality
  • Palm tree symbolism- peace and opportunity
  • Pine tree symbolism – creativity, life, longevity, immortality
  • Willow tree symbolism- magic, healing, inner vision, dreams

Environmental Importance of trees?

Trees have always been extremely important to the environment. They literally Take in the toxins from the air and they also release oxygen.

Quote 3:

“Since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, they provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools. Today, their value continues to increase and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles.”

This Statement tells us about the facts of environmental uses of trees however how do we advertise this? Photography can be used to shock the world in many ways. One of which being showing images of bad environments. for example images of damaged or dying trees symbolise environmental damage as shown below.

Image 2


In this image the sinister lighting, layout of the photograph and structure of the tree projects death and decay. The use of black and white instead of colour strengthens this theme.

Projecting trees as different structures using trick Photography:

An Image of a tree can be used to make look like many different things one of which being the insides of human lungs as shown in this manipulated photograph below:

Image 3:

This image is simply half a tree turned upside down duplicated and put back to back. The outcome of this being an image which looks like a human lung.

Trees can also make shapes naturally simply from the structure of them and from the angle in which the photograph has been taken. An example of this is shown below:

Image 4:


The structure of the trees in this image and the angle of which this photograph was taken creates a new image in the centre of the screen. As you can see in the centre of the frame is a new image of a face, which in my eyes is a female face. This image is a perfect example of taking a natural scene of trees and making a new image from them simply from the angle that the photograph is taken.

Image and how we read it:

On another not lets talk about an image its self and how we read it. For an example of this i will use the image below:

Image 5

FoxTalbot Oak Tree in Winter at Lacock Abbey 1840s

FoxTalbot Oak Tree in Winter at Lacock Abbey 1840st

How do we see this image? When we look at it do we see a tree or an image of a tree? When i look at this image i immediately think that it is an old image. now i know this because the date when it was taken is given. If that date was not there i would still believe it to be an old image, however how could i tell if it was actually old or edited to sepia and manipulated to look old?

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