Beth Moons „Ancient Trees”
Just recently I stumbled across photographer Beth Moon, who was on the trail of the oldest trees of the world for 14 years. She travelled the whole globe to visit the most impressive and also expressive trees and to capture them in her black and white portraits. I think her pictures wonderfully capture the dignity, history and radiance of those giants. Almost 70 of her best photographs were published in her book: „Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time“ at Abeville Press 2014. About her work she writes: “Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance, especially at a time when our focus is directed at finding better ways to live with the environment”.
The radiance of the trees
It was when I was a child when I first realised that trees have a character. My first fantastic relationship to trees I had to our fruit trees, a wild apple tree and a lovely plum tree. I loved to climb them, enjoy their leaf-framed view and to overlook everything from up there – eyeball to eyeball with squirrel and robin. To me, the ascent up on a tree was the step out of a rabbits hole up into a meta position. Up there I would get calm, I’d feel free, a little wild and very safe at the same time. They were my favorite retreat to read, learn, observe, play and hide. I loved these old trees. Each of them seemed to be bearing the marks of a long and exciting history, each had a different, individual character. This is what Beth Moons coffee-table book reveals very well.
The oldest tree of the world
As things stand (2015), a little unimposing spruce named „Old Tjikko“, discovered on the Fulu mountain in Sweden, is said to be the Methuselah of trees. Its age is dated to 9550 years and it originates from the family of vegetatively cloned trees. To be more precise it ranks as the oldest individual vegetatively cloned tree. Even older is the clone colony „Pando“, whose root system is incredible 80.000 years old. Appointed as the oldest non-vegetatively cloned tree was a 5066 years old Pinus Longaeva, whose exact place is kept a secret for safety reasons. This much I can reveal: It is located in the USA.
About Beth Moon
The San Francisco based Photographer is known for her extensive, rich platinum prints. Her works have been exhibited in the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Brasil, Singapore and Dubai and can be found in private and public collections like the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and the Fox Talbot Museum in Wiltshire. Moon studied fine arts at the University of Wisconsin, where she was working on alternative photo developing methods like the platinum print.
Here is a small selection of the most beautiful examples from the coffee-table book „Ancient Trees: A Portrait of Time“:
Photographies by courtesy of Beth Moon.
Thanks to Christoph for the lovely recommendation of this masterpiece!