Images in the series The Pines explore remnants of old-growth longleaf pinelands across the southeast United States. Historically, this is one of America's most significant landscapes that, when maintained with frequent, non-fatal fire, is also an extraordinary bio diverse ecosystems rivaling that of the tropical rain forests.
Prior to European settlement longleaf pine was the keystone species in a landscape mosaic that covered some 90 million acres of mostly coastal plain from Virginia to east Texas, and in the late 19th and early 20th century was all but wiped away by human action at an industrial scale. These photographs are more about a place than a tree. I am after a sense of the momentous and sacred, what I can experience in the present that gives a tiny glimpse of insight to both past and future. I seek place where time is tangible and puts me in my place as a human in a much larger narrative.
We eventually became part of the earth’s narrative, and I get the feeling we used to more thoroughly understand our role by being better listeners and proceeding with humility, with less aggressive need for short term control, and I like to be reminded of this.
Chuck Hemard is a lifelong resident of the American south. His recent photographs, made mostly with large format film cameras, explore the complexities of contemporary landscape.
Recently, Hemard published a monograph with Daylight Books that explores remnants of old-growth longleaf pinelands across the Deep South. The work has been featured on Smithsonian Magazine (online), Hyperallergic, and Garden and Gun Magazine (online). In 2014, he was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and has work included in public collections across the southeast United States, including the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus GA and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.
Hemard is an Associate Professor at Auburn University in the Department of Art and Art History.