Participants — all volunteers — share thoughts and feelings about being in TreeSpirit photographs…
Hiya Jack, Thanks for another great shoot (Sutro Forest, SF, CA)! It was my 2nd TreeSpirit photo with you (actually 3rd, since the first time included two different scenes) and I had a great time, as did the first-timer friend I brought with me. Until that day, I had no idea you could hike in that forest! Thanks for turning me on to another great feature of SF.
- Tim DuFour, July 2013
They [the photographs] are beautiful. What a fantastic and unique adventure we shared!
Thank you for making it possible for us to join [The Giant Sequoias Experience].
Heidi, Oct 2013
Jack, Thanks for the pictures and videos, I needed those. They bring me back to the sequoias [The Giant Sequoias Experience] with such a nice sense of serenity any time I look at them.
Dave, Oct 2013
Jack’s photo shoots have been some of the most powerful experiences of my life. If you look at the TreeSpirit website you can see me in all the other SF Bay Area photos, but I doubt you can pick me out. Jack Gescheidt knows how to beautifully combine art and activism!
- Wendy Botwin, July 2013
Cheers for Mother Earth. What a great place we have to live. The Sunday photo shoot was a blast. It was amazing how so many of us were able to stick to the rock without falling off. We did it! Beautiful pics, impressive and moving. Thanks.
- Carl, May 2013
Hope all is going well. Tony and I were inspired by your work while you were here and will always remember how you crafted your Willits Valley image.
Jack! I finally get to be there! I’ve followed the project for years, hoping our schedules and locations will collide, and they have. I couldn’t be at the Willits shoot gathering as I was working, but I was there in spirit. Thank you so much for drawing more attention to such a detrimental situation.
That’s why I’m so excited to ask for the privilege of participation in your Strawberry Rock shoot on April 27th. Yay! Hope all is well with you, Can’t wait to be there.
- Jess, March 2013
I want to let you know that I love the photo from The Angel Oak (“Angels”). That whole experience has stayed with me in ways I never imagined – all positive. I feel as though I was propelled to be there by the pesonal search I have been on and the reward was stunning.
Thank you for opening your call and cause to others. There couldn’t have been a way for you to know what your photo experiences would give to some of but I thank you deeply for the open channel. You are such a beautiful person and your connection to nature inspiring.
- Heather, May 2011
I really enjoyed participating in the Angel Oak photo (“Angels”). What an honor! I’ve never seen a tree like that before – so majestic. I think your stunning photographs really invite the viewer to recall their connection with nature – and what can be more important than that? For the sake of nature, yes, but, perhaps moreso, for the sake of us! A perfect reminder to stay grounded and at peace with those around us. Thank you! Please keep me posted for upcoming shoots.
Warmly, Laura Smith, May 2011
I hope you are shining as usual and that the project is flourishing. It had and still has a major influence on my path and how I navigate this life. Thank you for reminding me to be free and breaaaaathe.
August 2013 (2 years after the experience)
I can never thank you enough for extending the opportunity to be part of Tree Spirit Project. That Sunday was so enjoyable. Meeting everyone and listening to the Ranger and experiencing Richardson Grove from a totally different perspective. I enjoyed every moment. The picture is beautiful and I will frame and hang on my living room wall. I was very impressed with the detail and professional way that everything was handled. The picture went like clock work and projected a competent and professional photographer, director and crew at work.
You did an excellent job in all areas. I really was impressed with how you handled the park authority and explained everything to us participants in detail.
I would be delighted to join you again in any photographic endeavor. Keep me in mind and do not hesitate to call or email.
Thank you again,
- Roger S., September 2010
Precious Jack! Powerful photograph! Wow. Deep thanks,
Susan Faith, September 2010
One of the most moving non-violent direct actions I have been on. Thank you.
- Amy Rooker, Sept 2010
I greatly enjoyed participating in the photo last Saturday. Thanks for creating such a blissful opportunity for us to connect with nature and to see ourselves as art.
- Teresa Gibson, February 2009
Hello Jack. My name is Alex Watson. I am 18 from England and currently studying film and moving image at university. I came across your art and it has seriously moved me. Your photos so such passion for the environment and how we are all apart of nature. I think your goal is inspiring and it has inspired me.
I am currently writing a screen play for a film to enter into a competition. I wanted to make it about the environment and nature to express through my visual art how much nature means to me. Having seen your pictures i have been given lots of inspiration to create my script around tree sitting protests and naturists. I am only in the early days of planning but thought i should let you know how inspirational your work is too me and to keep the cause going. Thank you. – Alex, April 2012
Jack’s reply: Dear Alex, I’m honored to be credited with having inspired you and your own unique expression of nature/tree/environmental affection, work, love. I’ve learned this is how we can all help each other, inspire each other, grow, mature and evolve as local and global (via the web) communities.
Keep me posted on your efforts, and please share (and build) your progress with others so YOU will inspire others too. Wonderful.
Sincerely Yours, Jack
I just wanted to thank you again for yesterday. It was an amazing thing to experience. I don’t think I could have been made more comfortable. I was afraid it would be awkward or uncomfortable or that people would stare or something, but there was never a moment where I did not feel at ease with you or the group. What you are doing for nature is amazing, but I also think that you are doing something special for all of the participants. In this day and age we seem to be taught to hide our bodies. All that can be taken from that lesson is to be ashamed of our bodies. It’s unfortunate. But each time people meet you and experience the TreeSpirit Project, they get a little more comfortable and every person counts towards the movement.
Thanks again for everything,
- Claire M., February 2009
My partner, Steve, has been in two of your photographs before—the Berkeley Oak grove image (“Last Stand”), and the Lake Merritt tree photo (“Friends of the Lake”). When he did the first one, our relationship was new and I, coming from a conservative southern background, was not as comfortable with my body or the bodies of others. I was not morally shunning nudity or anything of the sort—I just wasn’t comfortable. The second photo he participated in, I was curious and wanted to go, but could not that day. I was almost ready, I thought. Saturday morning there was no question I was going to be in your photograph. It was a measure of how much more I have grown into my own body and the natural world I am surrounded by—it was completely natural and without hesitation that I found myself in the wilderness lying with so many others along a rocky trail.
As for the general motivation of my interest in the Tree Spirit Project – I’ve dreamt of trees for years. Truth be told I had an interesting experience with a tree as a child…but aside from that I grew up spending summers on an orchard in rural Virginia, climbing and losing myself in the woods for long hours. My dreams of trees—specifically people and trees melding—are a more recent event, but they’ve compelled me to seek out your photographs as tangible images of human and tree (or landscape) existing seamlessly together.
Thank you. I look forward to the next time I am able to participate!
- Amy K., February 2009
Thanks for having me involved with The TreeSpirit photo shoot Monday – an experience I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see the pictures in their final artistic form.
- Hans B., June 2009
Thank you! And thank you for the great experience on Saturday at Lake Merritt. It truly was unique and wonderful. – Rob P., June 2007
I had such a truly good day yesterday, thanks to you and the gorgeous scenery and the cooperative weather. I met so many nice people. Last time, in Santa Cruz, I was with my husband and our puppy, so didn’t interact as much with other participants. I am awed by the group of genuinely nice people you and the project seem to attract. Just the “hike” would have been enough to make it special afternoon for this city boy.
- Andy, February 2009
The picture looks MAGICAL.
Thank you for the positively delightful experience!
It was invigorating to be out in nature with so many wonderful individuals coming together on such a beautiful day.
I was honored to be a part of it.
- Mary, February 2009
I just want to thank you for your level of professionalism and warm reassurance last Saturday (March 17, 2007 in the Memorial Oak Grove, Berkeley). You were truly an inspiration, and you helped and encouraged me to become involved with that wonderful experience of communing with nature and connecting with the group, even in light of events. Thank you again for making my first time baring it all in public relaxing and non-threatening. I definitely will do it again given the opportunity.
Adrian. March 2007
Thank you for including me in your art project. I am honored to be in the photo or to be affiliated with your fine work in any way.
The timeless moments spent lying in the dirt that day, feeling the prickly oak leaves and the sun on my back is an experience I will cherish.
- Laura Brown, Ph.D., March 2007
I think I may have been just off the edge of the picture on this one. I think it is so wonderful that it is hard to tell we really did all blend in. I want to thank you again for your wonderful spirit. I was trying to explain to friends how you were able to make even such a public event feel so safe and sacred.
It felt good to lie down and be counted. I was lying next to a man who had not been part of one of your shoots before but said he had laid down for peace marches in the 60′s at Berkeley and that this was something that he believed in. It was the first time that he had been naked in front of anyone other than his family. I meet the most amazing people at your shoots.
I have not found the most eloquent way to say it yet – however there is one other point that I would like to appreciate you for: I know that no one would look at a tree and say – “hey that branch is too big” or “the scar on that trunk makes that tree look ugly”.
I feel that you look at human bodies in the way you do the trees each one is beautiful in its own way big or small, scarred or unblemished, young or old.
Being a larger than average woman I want to acknowledge how comfortable you make me feel and LOVE that you ask for bodies of all shapes and sizes to come and be part of the photo. A small thing, but highly valued.
Jade, March 2007
NOTE: A couple met on a TreeSpirit photo shoot, fell in love, and went on to marry…
Susie and I have been doing something great! We are so right for each other and we both have let out a big sigh of relief at finally finding each other. We are so happy and supported and flowing well together. With our four boys and living at other ends of the Bay we have found multiple opportunities to be together regularly and are doing so much as a couple.
And we met again, this lifetime, at the Tree Spirit Project shoot on Mt. Tam, naked. Do you shoot weddings?
Hope to see you soon,
- Robert Gurley, September 2006
Thank you for letting me be a part of such a beautiful and unusual experience. I really marveled at the way you directed the participants with humor and such wonderful encouragement. Great to see that you are pursuing your passion with such joy. You’re a true inspiration.
- Karen C., October 2006
…your Tree Spirit project is the most inspirational and soul-touching photography I’ve ever seen! Ever since I was a child I’ve deeply admired and had an affinity for the wisdom and awe-striking spirit of trees. Your project captures our relationship and similarities with them so eloquently! They all have such different personalities too, all just fantastic. Keep up the great work!
- Jessica McCollough May 2006