Trunk Show: YONG HEE KIM

The flowering cherries of New jersey's Essex County Branch Brook Park.

trees10.jpg
PRETTY IN THE CITY
The Trees: Japanese flowering cherries at Newark, NJ's Branch Brook Park
The Threat: Urban development and poor maintenance Read more about Yong Hee Kim’s photos
Yong Hee Kim

New York–based Kim has exhibited his work in galleries from Poland to Seoul, South Korea, where he was born. He studied photography at Manhattan’s Parsons The New School for Design, and now teaches part-time at the International Center of Photography and CUNY’s Baruch College.

A blooming cherry tree is so invested with human notions of natural perfection that it is a uniquely challenging subject, especially if a photographer wants to rise above mere representation. Yet photographers have long been seduced by the cherry’s ineffably pink blossoms, called sakura in Japan, where its namesakes have included the country’s first color film and its first commercial camera.

Yong Hee Kim had already been photographing cherry blossoms before we asked him to capture the extraordinary collection of cherry trees (Prunus) in New Jersey’s Essex County Branch Brook Park, the flagship of America’s first county park system. Kim, who recently exhibited room-size color prints of his tree images at Manhattan’s Michael Mazzeo Gallery, had even photographed the blooms in black-and-white with flash, as if to test their acknowledged beauty. The gallery show was on display for precisely seven days, the length of time cherry trees usually cling to blossoms before depositing them in a pink carpet on the ground. For this assignment, also timed to the trees’ brief April blooming, Kim couldn’t resist the blossoms’ extraordinary pink hue. The color images he made at Branch Brook Park are hardly literal representations, though; many are of abstract networks of branches exploding with flowers.

The cherry trees of Branch Brook Park, which was conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted and designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm, have survived nearly 100 years. Unfortunately, maintenance of these little-known specimens, which are more numerous in variety than the famous cherry trees of Washington, DC, has been historically spotty. Together with the relatively short lifespan of ornamental flowering cherry trees and a lack of appropriate nursery stock, this neglect has prompted county officials to undertake a comprehensive preservation plan. After all, who would want to lose the psychic relief these trees provide from the sprawl of metropolitan New York—an oasis of beauty just a few miles north of bustling Newark airport?

trees22.jpg
CITY OF TREES
The Trees: Louisville, KY's Olmsted-designed parks and parkways
The Threat: Highway building and severe weather Read more about Bob Hower’s photos
Bob Hower
trees23.jpg
CITY OF TREES
The Trees: Louisville, KY's Olmsted-designed parks and parkways.
The Threat: Highway building and severe weather. Read more about Bob Hower’s photos.
Bob Hower
trees24.jpg
CITY OF TREES
The Trees: Louisville, KY's Olmsted-designed parks and parkways.
The Threat: Highway building and severe weather. Read more about Bob Hower’s photos.
Bob Hower
trees10.jpg
PRETTY IN THE CITY
The Trees: Japanese flowering cherries at Newark, NJ's Branch Brook Park
The Threat: Urban development and poor maintenance Read more about Yong Hee Kim’s photos
Yong Hee Kim
trees11.jpg
PRETTY IN THE CITY
The Trees: Japanese flowering cherries at Newark, NJ's Branch Brook Park.
The Threat: Urban development and poor maintenance. Read more about Yong Hee Kim’s photos.
Yong Hee Kim
trees12.jpg
PRETTY IN THE CITY
The Trees: Japanese flowering cherries at Newark, NJ's Branch Brook Park.
The Threat: Urban development and poor maintenance. Read more about Yong Hee Kim’s photos.
Yong Hee Kim
trees01.jpg
AMAZING GRACE
The Trees: The American elms of East Hampton, NY
The Threat: Dutch elm disease Read more about Garie Waltzer’s photos
Garie Waltzer
trees02.jpg
AMAZING GRACE
The Trees: The American elms of East Hampton, NY.
The Threat: Dutch elm disease. Read more about Garie Waltzer’s photos.
Garie Waltzer
trees03.jpg
AMAZING GRACE
The Trees: The American elms of East Hampton, NY.
The Threat: Dutch elm disease. Read more about Garie Waltzer’s photos.
Garie Waltzer
trees26.jpg
FOREST CATHEDRAL
The Trees:The old-growth forest of the abandoned Arborland tree Farm, Milliken, CO.
The Threat: Urban development, habitat destruction. Read more about Jay Dickman’s photos.
Jay Dickman
trees27.jpg
FOREST CATHEDRAL
The Trees:The old-growth forest of the abandoned Arborland tree Farm, Milliken, CO.
The Threat: Urban development, habitat destruction. Read more about Jay Dickman’s photos.
Jay Dickman
trees28.jpg
FOREST CATHEDRAL
The Trees:The old-growth forest of the abandoned Arborland tree Farm, Milliken, CO
The Threat: Urban development, habitat destruction Read more about Jay Dickman’s photo.
Jay Dickman
trees29.jpg
FOREST CATHEDRAL
The Trees:The old-growth forest of the abandoned Arborland tree Farm, Milliken, CO.
The Threat: Urban development, habitat destruction. Read more about Jay Dickman’s photos.
Jay Dickman
trees33.jpg
WISE ELDER
The Tree: A historic tulip poplar at Washington, DC's Tudor Place Historic House and Garden.
The Threat: The tree's age, which makes it more vulnerable to weather and environmental changes. Read more about Amy Bedik’s photos__.
Amy Bedik
trees34.jpg
WISE ELDER
The Tree: A historic tulip poplar at Washington, DC's Tudor Place Historic House and Garden.
The Threat: The tree's age, which makes it more vulnerable to weather and environmental changes. Read more about Amy Bedik’s photos.
Amy Bedik
trees35.jpg
WISE ELDER
The Tree: A historic tulip poplar at Washington, DC's Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
The Threat: The tree's age, which makes it more vulnerable to weather and environmental changes Read more about Amy Bedik’s photos__.
Amy Bedik
trees19.jpg
ANCIENT MARKS
The Trees: The boxed pines of Weymouth Heights, in NC.
The Threat: Development, fire suppression. Read more about Frank Hunter’s photos.
Frank Hunter
trees20.jpg
ANCIENT MARKS
The Trees: The boxed pines of Weymouth Heights, in NC
The Threat: Development, fire suppression Read more about Frank Hunter’s photos
Frank Hunter
trees21.jpg
ANCIENT MARKS
The Trees: The boxed pines of Weymouth Heights, in NC.
The Threat: Development, fire suppression. Read more about Frank Hunter’s photos.
Frank Hunter
trees06.jpg
ROAD WARRIORS
The Trees: Three massive bark-cloth ficuses in San Juan, P.R.
The Threat: A major highway passing directly under the trees' canopy Read more about Juan A. Pons’ photos__.
Juan A. Pons
trees07.jpg
ROAD WARRIORS
The Trees: Three massive bark-cloth ficuses in San Juan, P.R.
The Threat: A major highway passing directly under the trees' canopy. Read more about Juan A. Pons’ photos.
Juan A. Pons
trees04.jpg
MALL WALKING
The Trees: Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Boston, MA
The Threat: Heavy use and Dutch elm disease Read more about James Sheldon’s photos
James Sheldon
trees05.jpg
MALL WALKING
The Trees: Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Boston, MA.
The Threat: Heavy use and Dutch elm disease. Read more about James Sheldon’s photos.
James Sheldon
trees09.jpg
GARDEN TREE
The Trees: The Cummer Oak, a live oak at Jacksonville, Florida's Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
The Threat: Age and weather Read more about Larry Nighswander’s photos
Larry Nighswander
treesnighswander02.jpg
GARDEN TREE
The Trees: The Cummer Oak, a live oak at Jacksonville, Florida's Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.
The Threat: Age and weather. Read more about Larry Nighswander’s photos
Larry Nighswander
trees30.jpg
WISE ELDER
The Tree: A historic tulip poplar at Washington, DC's Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
The Threat: The tree's age, which makes it more vulnerable to weather and environmental changes Read more about Amy Bedik’s photos
Barbara Bosworth
trees31.jpg
WISE ELDER
The Tree: A historic tulip poplar at Washington, DC's Tudor Place Historic House and Garden.
The Threat: The tree's age, which makes it more vulnerable to weather and environmental changes. Read more about Amy Bedik’s photos.
Barbara Bosworth
trees32.jpg
FOR THE AGES
The Tree: a massive black oak at the Katewood estate, Bratenahl, OH.
The Threat: Age and weather. Read more about Barbara Bosworth’s photos__.
Barbara Bosworth
trees13.jpg
THE FIG TREE
** **The Trees:
The Aoyama Tree, a Moreton Bay fig growing in a Los Angeles parking lot
The Threat: THE lack of water and nutrients due to asphalt paving; overpruning Read more about Robert Glenn Ketchum’s photos
Robert Glenn Ketchum
trees14.jpg
THE FIG TREE
** **The Trees:
The Aoyama Tree, a Moreton Bay fig growing in a Los Angeles parking lot.
The Threat: THE lack of water and nutrients due to asphalt paving; overpruning. Read more about Robert Glenn Ketchum’s photos
Robert Glenn Ketchum
trees15.jpg
THE FIG TREE
** **The Trees:
The Aoyama Tree, a Moreton Bay fig growing in a Los Angeles parking lot.
The Threat: THE lack of water and nutrients due to asphalt paving; overpruning. Read more about Robert Glenn Ketchum’s photos
Robert Glenn Ketchum
trees16.jpg
THE FIG TREE
** **The Trees:
The Aoyama Tree, a Moreton Bay fig growing in a Los Angeles parking lot.
The Threat: THE lack of water and nutrients due to asphalt paving; overpruning. Read more about Robert Glenn Ketchum’s photos
Robert Glenn Ketchum
trees17.jpg
TEST OF TIME
The Trees: A 100-year-old row of American sycamores in Ames, Iowa.
The Threat: Infrastructure development; flooding. Read more about Dave Jordano's photos.
Dave Jordano
trees18.jpg
TEST OF TIME
The Trees: A 100-year-old row of American sycamores in Ames, Iowa
The Threat: Infrastructure development; flooding Read more about Dave Jordano’s photos
Dave Jordano
ADVERTISEMENT