At first sight, the large-scale prints in James Harris’ Leaf Canopy series capture the dazzling play of sun rays and tree leaves in a single, instantaneous image. However, the apparent spontaneity of these works is an elaborate artifice. Harris shoots hundreds, sometimes thousands, of photographs looking up into very specific trees around the world, setting out to convey the limitless, convoluted, interlocking details of expansive natural occurrences such as leaf canopies.
Using these images as raw material, the photographs are digitally stitched and collaged into a single harmonious composition. Every branch, twig and tree trunk is erased, all traces of montage removed, rebuilding over the resulting gaps. This process of construction echoes Harris’ artistic origins in sculpture. The clustered forms give the impression of naturally occurring mathematical relationships, but these intricate swirling galaxies are entirely imaginary, painterly fabrications.