Jordan Baumgarten has been photographing his home, the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, for the past ten years. Typically, he makes work for his long-term projects while on meandering bike rides, walks, errands, and visits with friends. However, sometimes inspiration and tragedy strike a bit closer to home: all of the pictures in ‘Family Tree Removal’ were made from his bathroom window in under an hour.
On the surface, ‘Family Tree Removal’ depicts the process of chopping down an overgrown mulberry tree from an alleyway, but its roots belie darker truths about best-laid plans, unfulfilled potential, human fallibility, the fragility of friendships and family, and ultimately life and death itself. While these photographs address a straightforward narrative, Baumgarten’s writings comprise years of complex meditation and analysis; together these elements explore the chaos and distortion so often caused by trauma.