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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

A Book for Tree Huggers

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, January 9, 2015/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, photography, sustainability, environment, plants

Who doesn't love trees? That would be strange considering all the benefits they provide: watershed protection, forest products, wildlife habitat, history, and beauty. The list is almost endless.

California-based portrait photographer  Beth Moon  undertook a 14-year project to locate the oldest arboreal specimens she could find and photograph them. Combining modern digital image capture with the amazing detail that can be created in the print darkroom, she created ethereal depictions of her ancient subjects. From the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park; to ancient English oaks; to bulbous baobabs in Madagascar, and the Dragon's Blood Trees ( Dracaena cinnabari ) of the Greek chronicles, Moon produced otherworldly prints of her tree subjects.

                                               Baobab Forest, Madagascar  (credit: Beth Moon)

In the darkroom where photographic "magic" is produced, she created labor-intensive   platinum prints   from her digital negatives. The process is sometimes called "alternative photography" because of it ancient, detailed, and archival appearance. The photographer commented on the printmaking process; 

“It may be that photography has one more dimension still largely unexplored, one more joy. It unfolds when we go beyond the taking of the marvelous image, into the making of the marvelous expression of the image. When we go beyond the artist’s eye, to the artist’s hand.”

Moon's photography also reveals a sad reality in the images as many of the ancient groves and forest "elders" show little to no signs of reproduction of young trees caused by one environmental stress or another. Her photographs represent a record of what is being lost from forest ignorance and abuse.

  Bowthorpe Oak , England (credit: Beth Moon)    and    Dragon's Blood Trees, Yemen  (credit: Beth Moon)

Moon has published 60 of her photographs in a book entitled:  Ancient Trees; Portraits of Time

If there are any 'Tree Huggers' in your world, this is the perfect book for them!


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