Last March*, I wrote about a project by a local photographer who took a photo of “That Tree” every day for a year with just his iPhone.  I was among the hundreds who trudged through a soggy field to be in picture #365.

Last weekend, Mark Hirsch hosted a gallery exhibit and did book signings of the finished product.  What started off as a simple rehabilitation project following an accident has taken on a life of its own.  He sold over 2,000 books before he had a book printed.  He has appeared on NBC News, in the Huffington Post, on NPR, the UK Daily Mail, Sierra Club and more.  In short, he’s becoming famous with his That Tree exhibit.

While many only know him from his work on this project, I was fortunate enough to work with him on projects for our university long before his media whirlwind tours, and even more fortunate that he photographed me and my beloved dog.  I knew that my Hannah was getting old and wanted a memory of the two of us together.  Mark indulged me.  I had him autograph one of his books, but what I really should have done is have him sign my Hannah picture.

Mark didn’t start taking pictures of that tree to create a following; I didn’t wade through the mud to be in a book and he didn’t take my dog’s picture thinking that the photographer would matter.  

You never know when something simple is going to catch on and go viral.  You never know when ordinary people in your life are going to become famous.  What I do know is that doing things for love always produces a better result in the end. 

— beth triplett
Photo credit:  Mark Hirsch

*See Blog #297, March 25, 2013

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