Spirit tree is sweetheart tree for photographer at state fair

"The Spirit Tree" by Roger Nordstrom
“The Spirit Tree” by Roger Nordstrom


by Bruce Strand, Arts Editor

A black-and-white photograph of a sacred tree taken by Rogers Nordstrom, of Elk River, is one of the entrants chosen for display in the Fine Arts building at the Minnesota State Fair.

This image, made Aug. 13, 2012, at the Spirit Little Cedar Tree on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, has special significance for Nordstrom and wife Carolyn. They attended the powwow in Grand Portage that day and went to the Spirit Tree, a special place for both of them, at sunrise.

“It was there that I surprised her by asking her to marry me,” Nordstrom said. “This image was made just minutes after we were engaged. Less than two months later, we were married. … I have a wonderful artistic person in my life now, and she is my inspiration.”

Nordstrom has gotten into the state fair three times in recent years after several years of trying unsuccessfully. He and Carolyn both had entries accepted last year.