First Person: A conversation with Angela Filo

Palo Alto-based photographer talks about the 'Palo Alto Forest Project' as Palo Alto Art Center prepares for grand reopening

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Angela Buenning Filo, Palo Alto-based photographer and creator of the "Palo Alto Forest Project," speaks with Lisa Van Dusen about her community-activated photo installation, part of the Palo Alto Art Center's grand reopening exhibition -- "Community Creates" -- opening on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.

Sitting -- literally -- in the middle of 391 photographs etched onto glass panels mounted on wires in a custom-made tree-like column, Filo shares what surprised, delighted and moved her about her first foray into collaborative art projects. In April 2012, the Palo Alto community was invited to submit a photograph of a Palo Alto tree along with a six-word story describing what the tree meant to them. The youngest contributor was Filo's 3-year-old daughter.

Filo's other works, "Connected: Silicon Valley + Bangalore" (on display at Mineta International Airport in San Jose) and "1,737 Trees" (a permanent installation at San Jose City Hall), explore landscapes in transition. While the orchard trees are in transition in "1,737 Trees," Filo sees Palo Alto's trees as "the constant" in a community churning with change, innovation and all things new.

Filo graduated from UC Berkeley's School of Journalism and taught journalism and photography at East Side College Preparatory School. She lives in the Professorville neighborhood of Palo Alto with with her husband, two young daughters and some wonderful trees.

— Palo Alto Online staff


Like this comment
Posted by Jan Buenning
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2012 at 8:28 am

This interview helps explain to an interested party living far away the history of the project and the intent of the artist in developing this very unique display. I hope the Palo Alto community embraces the Palo Alto Forest Project and appreciates it for its connectiveness of its inhabitants and nature through the artistic expression of Angela's work.

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