Tag - ancient trees

Beth Moon’s majestic photographs of ancient trees from all over the world will make you a tree hugger

Sometimes we want art for arts sake— pretty pictures to simply enhance our everyday. Other times, beautiful images serve a bigger purpose for the greater good, calling attention to issues otherwise unknown. Such is the case for Beth Moon’s photographic series of the planet’s most stunning, unique, and, in some cases, endangered trees. 1rtbyyuyopuyMoon began her arborist journey in 1999 with the intention to photograph trees that are “unique in their exceptional size, heredity, or folklore.” She found all three, though not without some serious searching, as she explains that “sometimes the journey is half the fun.” 2gvdfgbd-gbShe began her journey in Great Britain and traveled through America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. During one particular quest in Madagascar, Moon remembers she had to get help from a local chief to locate the tree. “It was so big, you would think it would be easy to spot,” she says, but since “so many of our old trees have been cut down that without a concerted effort you are not likely to run across one.” She found the tree in the end and even had an audience of villagers while she photographed it. 3gfbunSpeaking of her photographs, Moon takes hers on a Pentax medium-format film camera. Once she develops the negatives, she imprints them on heavy cotton paper coated with platinum and palladium metals. This way, the image is embedded into the fibers of the paper, giving a full circle aspect to the medium and subject. 4jhkpSomething that Moon realized during her time spent among the tress is how resilient so many of them are. She says, “I am always amazed at the way trees have the ability to endure and adapt to severe conditions. Some ancient trees hollow out as they age as a survival technique. The tree will send an aerial root down the center of the trunk, which will continue to grow from the inside out.” 5azxemIn her book Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time, she explains that many ancient trees “contain superior genes that have enabled them to survive through the ages, resistant to disease and other uncertainties.” Unfortunately, not all trees have the same strong survivalist instincts and are headed for extinction. 6jkfnsShe says “Quiver trees are dying from lack of water in Namibia. Dragons blood trees are in decline and on the endangered list, and three species of baobab trees are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. The disappearance of old-growth forests may be one of the most serious environmental issues today.”7bsubThankfully, projects like hers brings much needed awareness to an otherwise under-publicized plight. For example, in 2007, a Madagascar grove of baobabs trees was granted temporary protected status as there is currently only 20 surviving trees from what was, at one time, a thriving tropical forest. Baobabs trees can grow to be 100 feet tall and are indigenous to the area. 8dbunOtherwise, Moon’s subjects range from teapot shaped trunks to massive species like this Kapok tree from Palm Beach, Florida. Moon actually stumbled upon this one in a book from the 1940s and hunted it down in Florida; she says “I could see that the trunk had filled out tremendously in 60 years; the roots now rise more than 12 feet above the ground.”9svbryaevbWhether you’re an environmentalist, art lover or tree hugger, you’ll find beauty in Beth Moon’s photographs that transcends her subject into something timeless and graceful.  [source: National Geographi]