Look at trees in a different way

Story highlights

  • Fabien Le Coq took photos of trees from the bottom looking up
  • The branches take on their own patterns in the sky: "Each tree has its own personality"

Arbor Day is celebrated this year in the United States on April 24. The holiday encourages people to plant and care for trees.

(CNN)It all started by looking up.

During an expedition through the Brittany region on the west coast of France, photographer Fabien Le Coq noticed an unusual tree. He positioned himself at the base of the tree and turned his camera upward, filling the frame with the trunk and its spindly branches.
"I'm kind of a walking photographer," Le Coq said. "I love exploring new places. One day I was taking a break during an excursion in the Broceliande forest, looking for the best place to settle, when I discovered a small clearing with a tree without leaves. I stayed for hours looking around, taking some pictures and I found myself lying down under the tree. The tree's branches were rising as if to touch the sky."
    This was the start of the photo series "Treesome," an embodiment of Le Coq's unique way of interacting with the world around him.
    Photographer Fabien Le Coq
    "By walking a long time in an environment, landscapes begin to influence on your mood," he said. "As (landscapes) change, your feelings do."
    The series, shot between 2012 and 2014, reflects Le Coq's travels through his native France and countries in Central America and Asia. The images are soothing and repetitive; each tree is photographed from the bottom looking up. But it is from this vantage point that the differences become apparent.
    Branches take on their own patterns in the sky, creating a symmetry that is both interesting and comforting. A row of trees shot in Paris speaks to the geometry of a modern city. Cactus branches look like spears piercing the sky.
    Appearance is not the only factor that sets the trees apart. For Le Coq, each image is special because it represents different feelings at different points in time.

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    "Each tree has its own personality," he said. "I chose them by the way I felt at the moment. Sometimes they even change my sentiments. It's kind of a spiritual experience."
    Le Coq says his photographs are meant to bring about pause and reflection. The viewer should "become a third actor in a scene with trees and skies." It is an opportunity to take a break and focus on our own individual journeys.
    "Treesome" is shot in black and white, an aesthetic Le Coq says lends tension "recalling the gulf on one side and the celestial heights on the other.
    "The branches are the mirror of the roots."
    As a freelance graphic designer, Le Coq can work wherever there is an Internet connection. He uses this freedom to travel, discover new places and grow as a photographer.
    Photography has also allowed Le Coq to explore his home country.
    "Sometimes home is full of new possibilities," he said. "You just have to look or change how you look."