Leaves / Leaving

2021 – 2022

Reflecting on cycles of life, death and the act of letting go with strangers under trees.

In early September 2021 I started to research the trees of Salford – meeting with enthusiasts, experts and the trees themselves – with the view to return to make a work with the falling leaves later in the season. But the leaves had already started to leave. Autumn was cracking on in its usual abundance. The world was coming out of a global pandemic and my body clock was ticking louder than ever. I wanted to pause in all the change. I wanted to see if anyone else did too.

I invited members of the public to drop by for a chat under three trees in Salford – a beech in Eccles Recreation Ground, a quince tree at Ordsall Hall and a willow on the University of Salford campus – and let go of something. These thoughts were typed on leaves found under the trees.

The following spring I exhibited photographs, carbon copies of the typed leaves and various props at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Photographs by Joseph Lee. Commissioned by University of Salford Art Collection.