Return to Heartwood

logo for return to oheartwood willliam guion

About the Author

William Guion has photographed the landscape and oak trees of the South for more than four decades. Through his camera’s lens, he explores the quiet presence, or spirit of place, revealed in the changing moods of light and shadow across the land. His black-and-white and hand-colored photographs of the oaks sensitively portray the essence of their character. He describes his images as “tree portraits,” each one revealing the evasive and individual personality of each tree, alley, or grove. Not since the landscape paintings of early 20th century Louisiana artists A.J. Drysdale and William Henry Buck has a Southern artist focused on a long-term study of Louisiana’s live oaks, until now.

In 2006, moved by the loss of many of the old oaks in Louisiana from hurricanes and urban development, Guion focused his efforts on locating and documenting Louisiana’s oldest and historic oaks before they and the human stories connected with them are lost forever. In 2016, based on this work, he received a major grant from the Lafourche Parish Office of Tourism to create the Bayou Lafourche Historic Live Oak Tour.

His photographs are widely collected and are contained in a variety of corporate and private collections across the U.S. as well as the permanent collections of the Louisiana Folklife Museum and the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Guion also supports a variety of non-profit organizations that promote the conservation and preservation of trees. Return to Heartwood is his sixth book.

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