Sharing nature: making connections

30 June 2017

As part of our Sharing Nature project, over the past fortnight we asked you to share your photos on the theme EMOTION, and respond to other people’s submissions. You decided Magda Harmon’s contribution was most meaningful.


“Connectedness. We are nothing without nature. We are nature. Nature is us. Our veins, branches of an ancient oak, the Amazon river – All is One.” The photograph and words Magda Harmon submitted on the theme EMOTION.

For Magda, nature is all about feeling connected. Her photograph looking up into a tree canopy that’s just coming back into leaf illustrates that emotion. Rather than viewing vegetable life as something separate and other to herself, Magda sees interconnections, believing “all is one”.

Magda also notes the patterns the branches create against the creamy grey sky, and draws out the similarities the shapes have with a river, and with veins. She has a point. Looking through Wellcome Collection’s image library, there are parts of human and animal bodies that are rather root-, branch- and river-like, including these:

In an article for The Conversation, Richard Taylor, Director of the Materials Science Institute and Professor of Physics at the University of Oregon, asks us to consider the tree as an example of something that’s ‘fractal’: “First you see the big branches growing out of the trunk. Then you see smaller versions growing out of each big branch. As you keep zooming in, finer and finer branches appear, all the way down to the smallest twigs.” Taylor says these fractals, or repetitive patterns, are one of the key things that makes a work of art or a natural scene visually appealing and stress relieving. So, just looking at Magda’s beautiful, fractal tree photograph, and perhaps feeling some kind of emotional connection with it, could be doing you the world of good.

Sharing Nature continues until 1 October 2017, and upcoming themes include relationships, dead, green, alone, plastic, health, and consume. A museum of modern nature is at Wellcome Collection until 8 October 2017.