Dorina Van Boeckel is a professional photographer and artist who enjoys spending time in the woods, connecting to and taking photographs of specifically-studied trees. She connects with the tree spirit and focuses on the beauty of the tree’s natural formations. Dorina feels that “A tree spirit reflects the soul of the tree.”
Dorina lives in Belgium and has a master’s degree in visual arts and photography (Sint-Lukas University, Brussels). Her photography has a mystical theme running throughout. Her masters’ project was entitled “Universe” and focused on the planetary bodies and their visual and spiritual connection to photography.
Her exploration of tree spirit photography is more recent and her subjects are mostly from the woodlands of Europe and Africa. She shares her photographs, and encourages others to do likewise, via her Facebook Group, Tree Spirit Photography.
In keeping with her professional art training, Dorina approaches her tree spirit photography via an in-depth connection with her subject. Her work is extremely tactile and detailed. She first connects to the tree by physically touching it, then connecting to the spirit of the tree, and then visiting with the tree repeatedly, to develop a detailed understanding of her subject.
Completed photographs are thus the result of her artistic and spiritual exploration of the character of a specific tree. She explores light and shadow, texture, color, depth of bark pattern, cracks and splits, trunks, curves and other features of that tree. She states that different images of both humans and animals can be seen while studying her resulting photographs, depending on an individual’s perspective and mindset.
The Story Inside the Images
Each of Dorina’s images has its own story, for her interest is in listening to the tree beings and understanding what they are seeking to express. So we will listen to her stories:
Twin Souls. Dorina says that “The ultimate beauty of trees can never be over emphasized, their relevance and importance only grow with each passing day, for it transcends the generations, bringing into light the perfect work of art to the appreciation of many. This photograph depicts an abstract image which I call ‘twin souls,’ beautifully etched by nature’s own master crafter on the bark of a tree which can be found deep within the heart of the Belgium woodlands, adding more uniqueness to the art of tree photography.”
The Fetus – Judea Tree. “Trees play a significant role in the life of living beings and they are vital to our existence on earth.” ~ Anon. Dorina tells us: “I chose to call this photograph The Fetus – Judea tree, for its unique and close resemblance to a human fetus. ‘Judea’ on the other hand is my unborn child’s name. The near perfect image of a fetus engraved by nature in a tree and carefully captured by my camera lens is an art of tree photography.”
Mama Hana. Dorina states that “Apparently and most importantly, the sentimental value of special trees are immeasurable.” She calls this image “Mama Hana” because it of its resemblance to the late Mama Hana, a woman who once lived in the western parts of Kenya, East Africa. “Mama Hana was a selfless and industrious woman who dedicated most of her life to helping the poor with her wealth. Due to her outstanding commitments in seeing that inequality and poverty were eradicated in her community, many were able to overcome poverty and live a better life.”