The Opening of a Leaf

Community photography exercise


One aim of my residency at McIntosh Gallery is to acknowledge the life forces within trees. It is only through ongoing observation of minute detail that we become aware of their growth over time. Bearing witness to these ever-unfolding changes, we become intimate with the tree and acknowledging the life force within it. – Johannes Zits

Stasis is not part of the natural world. Everything in nature, including trees, changes over time. Much of this is gradual and easily overlooked. Seasonal grow cycles provide the clearest evidence of the dynamic force that guides trees through time and space over their long lives.

When we closed our doors in mid-March, we cut short Johannes Zits' artist residency Listening to Trees. We thank the artist, Mkomosé (Dr. Andrew Judge), and all other contributors for rescheduling project-related events and programs to Spring 2021. During the interim, Johannes has been developing performances based on his research and documentation taken from his time in London. 

Now is the best time of year to experience the changes in the trees around us. And with so many of us at home during this cool and quiet spring, we have opportunity to experience and celebrate what we often take for granted.

We invite you to participate in Johannes’ ongoing residency by photographing unfurling tree buds in your backyard, in a park or an alley nearby, or anywhere trees grow in your community. Visit one tree at least twice a week over the next month to witness and document its growth. Share your images with us on social media by using #TheOpeningOfALeaf or by tagging @McIntoshGallery, or email images directly to

Community photo submissions: