Rows of poplar trees have had a place in the Dutch landscape for many years, often in hard straight lines cutting across the fields or following a road or lane. The poplar though as a tree is it would seem, losing its popularity and the rows of spectacular verticals set against the horizontal landscape are increasingly being removed.
Near where I live in the centre of the Netherlands one of the most spectacular avenues in the country is living on borrowed time. Some 900 trees are due to be removed over the next couple of years. The landscape on the edge of the town of Wageningen it is fair to say, won’t be quite the same without them. Writers, artists, photographers, runners, birdwatchers, sound recordists and others have contributed to a new book that reflects on the trees, there presence in the landscape, their importance to us and ultimately what their removal will mean to us.
Wim Huijser and sound recordist Henk Meeuwsen have taken the lead in assembling the book, but I too have contributed to “Het ruisen van de populieren”, or in English, “The Rustle of the Poplars”.
There can be few landscapes around the world that are as manipulated and carefully managed as the Dutch landscape. The presence of man and the control he exerts is almost always present, sometimes subtly, sometimes in a more extreme form. My manipulated photograph for the book connects with this and the way the landscape forms the scenery for our lives.