It was last May when photographer Jack Gescheidt and his crew made a pilgrimage to save the Angel Oak Tree from developers who wish to build condos around the 1500-year-old tree. Gescheidt and a few very brave models captured the image they were looking for just before police arrived on the scene. You may have even read about it in the newspaper.
If you’re wondering why the police arrived and why those models were so brave, then you must not know that Jack Gescheidt shoots his subjects in the nude, hugging trees and without anyone’s permission.
His artistic process is the subject of Out on a Limb, a documentary still in production. In order to continue the film, Gescheidt’s organization, TreeSpirit, hosted a fundraiser last Tuesday. Guests were treated to a small preview of the documentary. More importantly though, Geschiedt was there to raise awareness about an issue here in South Carolina.
Many of the nude volunteers made it to the event on Tuesday. One moment they were in the lobby, smiling, laughing and eating popcorn,; the next moment, they entered the theatre, the lights were dimmed and onscreen there they stood, unabashedly naked, smiling just as they were in the lobby.
At the Q&A, a debate raged on about the proper avenue for saving the Angel Oak. Some were adamant that a social networking campaign could create the buzz to save the tree. Others argued that only attorneys could save the trees, not public opinion. What they failed to realize was that Jack Gescheidt had offered them something unique. He had brought the community together to do something a little crazy for a good cause and because he did that, activists with different backgrounds and ideas were in the same room on Tuesday figuring out how to save the tree.