My name is Ali Shokri and I am a passionate nature photographer focusing on trees. I was born in 1982 in Tabriz, Iran and have spent the last 16 years working on a project called The Tree. I have always used Canon as my main camera brand and love the clarity it gives me in my images.
As a result of this project I have had the chance to have individual and group exhibitions. More notably, I was invited to be a TED speaker about the life of trees and have published a book through Matador England UK called The Passion Of Trees.
The snow no longer cloaks our mountains in white. Our rivers have emaciated. Our wells are getting deeper and deeper, and our valleys are short of breath. The red deer do not give birth and our leopards jump to their death from the rocks of the Mount Kiamaki.
Every day the papers speak of the escalation of the greenhouse gases, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the El Nino phenomenon, while the nighttime TV is filled with news of global warming, drought, and climate change.
I do not exactly understand these issues, but every year I witness the incineration of vast expanses of the Arasbaran Forests, a unique biodiversity which is steadily dwindling.
Owing to inordinate dam and road construction, the proliferation of factories and mines, and many other reasons, wild life in these forests is so devastated that even lumber smugglers would feel dejected at the sight. I cannot imagine the depth of his sorrow if father were alive and could see how the walnut trees have dried out and the apricots do not blossom anymore.
To me, each tree, like a human-being, has a tale to tell. When a tree dies, a whole story is interrupted, a destiny is altered for the worse. I feel as if the trees, bundled at the back of trucks, are cursing us with their broken hands, wounded faces, and severed roots. Perhaps this is how we are led towards damnation, little by little stripped of our humanity, when man’s “abounding foliage moistened with the dew” is reduced to ash and smoke.
I know I can’t save our trees with my photographs, I can’t restore Nature to her imperious verdure, yet I try to capture the lonesomeness and exile of the trees and encourage the viewers to look at nature with a different gaze, to remember that in the absence of trees the birds are homeless and there’s no air to breathe, to remember that if there are no trees humanity has already vanished…
The passion of trees
By Ali Shokri – (c) Copyright 2020