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1737 Trees

Artist: Angela Buenning Filo (2006)

1737 Trees is a grid of photographic portraits of every tree in one of San Jose’s last orchards.

Angela Buenning Filo was inspired to photograph these trees by a November 10th, 2002 newspaper article that described a San Jose prune orchard as the last in Silicon Valley. She drove in search of it and found the strip of trees alongside the IBM campus on Cottle Road and photographed the trees. When, in the following months Filo's thoughts kept returning to the trees, she decided to document the orchard before it was destroyed. It was then she set out to make an individual portrait of each of the orchard’s 1,737 trees with the intention of arranging the finished photographs in the same grid in which the trees were planted in the orchard.

By this time IBM, which had preserved the orchard on its property for decades, had sold the land, and a large billboard announced that the 42 acres were up for sale again. Filo worked over the next three years, choosing to photograph the trees’ leafless branches in winter under overcast skies. With the orchard still standing, but the land slated for development, she photographed the final tree in 2006.

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Public Art 1737 Trees (City Hall - Lobby) - 2

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