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Aaron Siskind

The Tree, Martha's Vineyard
gelatin silver print
10 3/8 x 10 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, © 1973, Aaron Siskind

Most striking about Siskind’s image is the way tree branches seem to reach out like twisted arms from the darker, shaded limbs and trunk. The surrounding is superfluous; it isn’t necessary to know the type of tree, its height, or its location. Siskind, one of the most persuasive abstract photographers of the twentieth century, implies human activity as he includes the still raw scars of the pruning saw.