The Music to Life Series

September 15, 2013 In My Tree – Conceptual Photography by Jimmy Bui Posted In: Pearl Jam

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Song of the Week: In My Tree by Pearl Jam

For my next conceptual photography image for my Music to Life series, I chose one of my favorite all time songs from Pearl Jam, “In My Tree.” It’s an introspective about maturing and growing up. It often serves as a reminder to me that I could always grow and be a better person, and the only person who can evoke real change in my life is me. I must have listened to this song a thousand times while I was in college. It was definitely a time where I was trying extremely hard to discover who I was and what my purpose in life is. Featured in the picture is one of my old students when I use to teach 6th grade, Kristi. She has just graduated from high school, and like many of my old students, her character and strength of heart is incredibly inspiring. I look forward to seeing what kind of person she will be in the years ahead, and I hope nothing but the best as she aspires and reaches out for her goals and dreams.


Conceptual Photography Shoot Details

This is a composite image utilizing three different pictures that were shot separately: the tree, Kristi, and a city in Hawaii. The tree and the city were shot with natural light, of course, and Kristi was shot with a combination of ambient and artificial light. Her sister held a speedlight with an umbrella attached to a boom, and held it above her as a fill light. We shot her against the sun so that it can provide a natural rim light around her. I used my trusty Canon 5D Mark III camera and the amazing Sigma 35mm f1.4 art lens. I edited these images in both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Song Lyrics and Inspiration

up here so high i start to shake
up here so high the sky i scrape
i’m so high i hold just one breath here within my chest
just like innocence

Quite simply, I wanted to show in the picture two different elements: nature and the city. The song, to me, represents an escape from what we call “normal life” and reaching out to a life that is more free. It’s also about rising up from your own inhibitions and finding a more enlightened self. Eddie Vedder wrote the lyrics to In My Tree and the song was composed by Stone Gossard, Jack Irons, and Vedder.

Play “In My Tree”

If you’re interested in purchasing a print, visit my online store today. Also, check out my previous image, “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” in this post.If you’re interested in shooting a Music to Life series image, message me at and don’t forget to visit my website and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thank you so much! 


In My Tree by Pearl Jam :Song

Kristi Jones :Model

Canon 5D Mark III:Camera

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art:Lens

Speedlight with Umbrella :Strobist

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Jimmy Bui

I am a wedding and conceptual portrait photographer based in Southern California. When I'm not shooting weddings, or planning my next weekly photo for my Music to Life series, you may find me at Disneyland or the zoo spending time with my beautiful wife and daughter.
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