Pine Tree Ballads


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Tradition, folklore, familial bonds, nature and poetics are separate stars connected in a single sky in this photo series from American photographer Paul Thulin (1971). The setting is Gray’s Point, where Thulin’s family has returned each summer for over a century, after his great-grandfather settled off the coast of Maine because it resembled his homeland of Sweden. The story is one of shared history spent over summers, both historically accurate and tainted by memories and fantasies.

Pine Tree Ballads is an illustration of the way a family creates its own narrative and legends – the way a family builds its identity itself. Thulin says: “I see the orchard farm, the shore, the pine trees, the granite, the muck, the gusting winds as natural elements and the symbolic essence of my family.” Told through individually experienced moments – imperfect, hazy, easily trivial if they weren’t so meaningful – Thulin’s story travels quickly beyond the specifics of Gray’s Point, and deep into the heart of how stories themselves are passed on.


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