National Champion Valley Oak, California, 1994

  • Barbara Bosworth, National Champion Valley Oak, California, 1994, 1994, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Haluk and Elisa Soykan, 2008.2.8, © 1994, Barbara Bosworth

The National Register of Big Trees records the size and location of the largest individuals of over seven hundred species found in the United States. Although Bosworth has tracked more than one hundred of these trees across the continent, she is as concerned with capturing the feeling of the surrounding landscape as describing the particular details of each tree. We are shown only the base of the coast redwood’s trunk; a figure nearly hidden in the undergrowth offers the only indication of its height, which reaches over three hundred feet above the forest floor. Redwoods and giant sequoias have long been highlights for summer tourists, but the champion western redcedar is perhaps a more telling example of the fate of many of these natural landmarks. It was discovered within a stand of old-growth forest that was being clear-cut, and now remains as a lone sentinel guarding a deserted landscape. While some of these champions are protected within national or state parks and forests, Bosworth has been more frequently drawn to the commonplace locations where the majority are found: backyards, rural crossroads, parking lots, and housing developments.

Earth and Sky: Photographs by Barbara Bosworth exhibition label

National Champion Valley Oak, California, 1994
Not on view
9 1223 18 in. (24.158.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Haluk and Elisa Soykan

Mediums Description
gelatin silver print
  • Landscape – tree – oak tree
  • Landscape – California
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI