BY SUSAN JOY PAUL
Mike Pach didn’t plan to take a picture of the same tree every day for a year. The Springs photographer didn’t plan it, and he certainly didn’t expect the project to become a life-changing experience.
“What started as an exercise in creativity evolved into more than a collection of pictures,” Pach said. “The project became a metaphor for life, and the pictures were secondary.”
Jan. 12, 2015, the day after a snowstorm, Pach looked out his kitchen window and was struck by an image in the fog, a tree. Coated in ice and snow, the hackberry tree attracted the artist in Pach, and he took a picture.
Later that day, the idea of photographing the tree every day came to him. “The original goal was to create a unique picture each day, as an exercise in showing how you could see the same thing in a different way every day,” he said.
Pach turned the still photos into a multimedia presentation, which he will show Friday at the Venue@21c, inside Library 21c in Briargate. Arbor Day falls on the third Friday in April in Colorado, and the presentation will commemorate the day. The slideshow includes recorded, background music provided by the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and Pach will talk about his observations and lessons learned while creating the project.
“Several things happened along the way for me that were too unusual to call coincidences,” Pach said. “I felt there was something telling me this was the right thing for me to be doing.”
Pach said a large pine tree in his backyard partially blocked his view of the hackberry from his home, so he took all the photos from his backyard. “Last May, a windstorm blew the pine tree over giving me a clear view of the hackberry. It seemed like the universe was telling me” ‘I really like what you’re doing, we’re going to help you out a bit.’ It was the only tree that fell down,” he said. Pach added there were other unusual occurrences that he will share at the Friday event. He also hopes to inspire people with his project.
“You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to get great photographs. You can make great photographs in your backyard,” he said.
“I developed methods that kept me on track, and eventually became a habit. People can apply the same methods to reach their goals, not just photographic or artistic goals, but any goal they want to reach.” Pach added that he believes his project “became a metaphor for life, and begged the question, ‘Do you think that a single tree could have an impact on your life and the lives of others?’”
The event begins at 5 p.m., with free beer and wine “until it runs out” provided by Bristol Brewery and Sovereignty Wines. Short presentations will be provided by event partners The Colorado Photography Learning Group, Trails and Open Space Coalition, the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, the Colorado Springs Conservatory, Creative Magazine, Therapeutic Recreation Program of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Library District. Pach’s presentation follows, and the event is scheduled to run until 8 p.m. You can preview the photographs, along with Pach’s daily comments throughout the project’s process, on his websitesametreedifferentday.wordpress.com.
“This will be a celebration of our parks, trees and open space,” said Pach. Library 21c is at 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, and the event is free.