Global influencers including Sir Richard Branson, Jasper Conran and Raymond Blanc share the secrets behind their favourite tree as The New Unit London hosts a new photographic exhibition, A Portrait of the Tree….
The majestic glory of the longest living organism on the planet is showcased at an extraordinary collection of works, collectively entitled A Portrait of the Tree, that runs at Unit London’s new Hanover Square site from 17th to 28th September.
The images were shot and curated by renowned photographer Adrian Houston, who spent five years roaming the world – taking in Namibia, Madagascar, Ibiza, France, America and the UK – to capture the beauty of trees, chosen by notable names such as Richard Branson, actress Goldie Hawn and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.
Asking people about their favourite tree sparked fascinating stories. Lord Tollemache, former Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, told of the ancient oak in whose hollow trunk Queen Elizabeth II used to shelter during the annual shoot on his estate. Designer Jasper Conran talked about the beech tree outside his bedroom window; the first and last thing he sees each day.
Perhaps most poignant of all is the Cedar of Lebanon, part of the proud history and landscape of the grounds of Le Manoir aux Quat Saison, owned by legendary chef Raymond Blanc. Sadly, this magnificent tree was diseased and had to be cut down. Adrian’s art now ensures it is captured for posterity.
Says Adrian, “I am very excited that we will be among the first to exhibit at Unit London’s new Hanover Square gallery. For the last few years, Unit London has championed the world’s most exciting emerging artists and I was thrilled when co-founders Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt offered to house this most personal of retrospectives.”
The exhibition is styled and dressed to make the entire experience immersive. The doorway leads visitors through an ancient oak into a world of trees and woodland soundscapes.
A percentage of all sales will go to two leading charities: Future Trees Trust, a national charity dedicated to improving disease resilience, growth rate, form and adaptability to climate change of broadleaved trees, and Trees For Cities, responsible for planting over 700,000 urban trees in parks, streets, schools and housing estates across the world. A photographic competition will also invite 8-16-year olds to submit photographs of their own favourite trees. The best three images – and stories – will feature in the gallery space.
“A Portrait of the Tree was conceived as a way of illustrating how trees connect us all on a universal level,” says Adrian. “The stories behind the chosen subjects are as important as the images themselves. Together, they offer a powerful tool to help educate people, from children through to adults, about the vital role that trees play in all of our lives. After all, if there were no trees on the planet, we wouldn’t be here either.”
For more information, visit www.adrianhouston.co.uk.