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Captivating black-and-white photographs of the world’s most majestic ancient trees.
Beth Moon’s fourteen-year quest to photograph ancient trees has taken her across the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Some of her subjects grow in isolation, on remote mountainsides, private estates, or nature preserves; others maintain a proud, though often precarious, existence in the midst of civilization. All, however, share a mysterious beauty perfected by age and the power to connect us to a sense of time and nature much greater than ourselves. It is this beauty, and this power, that Moon captures in her remarkable photographs.
This handsome volume presents nearly seventy of Moon’s finest tree portraits as full-page duotone plates. The pictured trees include the tangled, hollow-trunked yews some more than a thousand years old that grow in English churchyards; the baobabs of Madagascar, called upside-down trees” because of the curious disproportion of their giant trunks and modest branches; and the fantastical dragon’s-blood trees, red-sapped and umbrella-shaped, that grow only on the island of Socotra, off the Horn of Africa.
Moon’s narrative captions describe the natural and cultural history of each individual tree, while Todd Forrest, vice president for horticulture and living collections at The New York Botanical Garden, provides a concise introduction to the biology and preservation of ancient trees. An essay by the critic Steven Brown defines Moon’s unique place in a tradition of tree photography extending from William Henry Fox Talbot to Sally Mann, and explores the challenges and potential of the tree as a subject for art.
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San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Gift Guide Selection
"A project with weight and lasting beauty Ancient Trees provides the kind of thorough and thoughtful portrait that each of these majestic long-lived survivors deserves.” Christian Science Monitor
[Moon] creates magical images that in their blacks and whites, silvers and grays, capture the marvel of arboreal forms and textures . . . [a] jewel of a book.” Booklist, Starred Review
"Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time is well named. One cannot look at Beth Moon's images of gnarled, overgrown trees and not feel the intrinsic gravity of time." Printers Row Journal, Chicago Tribune
Featured in the Wall Street Journal's Weekend "Exhibit" spotlight
"Trees are notoriously hard to photograph, but Moon captures their individuality with reverent portrayals these are lavish, awe-inspiring pictures...Crossing with ease between realms of natural history and art, this will appeal to all with even the mildest horticultural or photographic interests.” Library Journal
Beth Moon’s stunning images capture the power and mystery of the world’s remaining ancient trees. These hoary forest sentinels are among the oldest living things on the planet, and it is desperately important that we do all in our power to ensure their survival. I want my grandchildren and theirs to know the wonder of such trees in life and not only from photographs of things long gone. Beth’s portraits will surely inspire many to help those working to save these magnificent trees.”
Dr. Jane Goodall
Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, makes her exhibition prints exclusively with the platinum/palladium process, which affords the greatest possible permanence and tonal range. Moon’s work has been published widely in magazines, and she is represented by galleries in the United States, Italy, Israel, Brazil, and Dubai.
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