This Photographer Searches for the Messages Strangers Carve in Trees

Eirik Johnson’s Pine series could be the perfect photographic score for the Smiths discography. His large-scale pictures of tree trunk carvings display words like “Timothy X,” “ Alex is NUTS,” “Goodbye Etc,” and “We Were Here.” Lit by sparklers and other unconventional lighting sources, the photographs preserve the timeless urge to make one’s mark. They combine elements of teen angst, love, loss, and uncertainty as monuments to fragile existence.

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