The photography of Beth Moon:
"Beth Moon was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. Although she was a fine art major at the University of Wisconsin, she is a self-taught photographer. Her interest in photography was discovered somewhat indirectly over the course of time. Beth was designing women's clothing under her own label and needed photographs of her line. Each season, she would hire photographers to photograph her new designs until she decided to do it herself. "I never looked back," she recalls. Beth later sold the company and continued to purse her photographic interests, experimenting with various printing methods. The majority of her work today employs the Mike Ware platinum printing method that she learned while living in England." (VERVE gallery)
"Beth makes large digital negatives to contact print in platinum using Mike Ware's method - a process I find challenging even to read about!
If you're unaware of the nature of many of these historic processes, they are often only UV light sensitive, The fun side effect is you can work with ordinary incandescent bulbs on and see exactly what you're doing and who is doing what." (Brian Pawlawski)
"The Strangler Fig"
Beth Moon describes her process:
I shoot medium format film and do all of my own printing. I sometimes use double exposures and multiple negatives.
There are many steps involved with creating the final print and these are as important to me as the capturing of the image.
All photographs are platinum/palladium prints. These metals are hand coated on 100% rag cotton water color paper. Since platinum, like gold, is so stable and permanent, the platinum print is the most archival of any image on paper. A platinum print can last for centuries.
From Beth Moon's webpage, www.bethmoon.com:
"It is hard to find a subject more challenging to photograph than ancient trees. How do I express their power and beauty to those who have never seen them? How do I convey this power and beauty to those who have?I want to speak the language of the trees. I want to photograph the spirit that dwells within them. I want to record the passion that I see come alive before me and keep a clear picture so that even if a tree is destroyed by tempest wind, disease, greed or lack of concern, I will have a record of beauty and passion for those who were not able to make the journey.
Portraits of Change.
Portraits of Survival.
Portraits of Time.
For those who have felt a heightened sense of spirit as they wandered through groves of giant sequoias in the cool morning mist, or walked among the Joshua trees in the hot desert sun, who thought they found God in the heart of an ancient yew - this is not hard to understand. You cannot help but be overpowered by the sheer simplicity, standing before the stillness of the trees, you stand still, equally bare. Trees intricate and elegant in their simplicity of form; for beauty is not found in the excessive, but in what is venerable, old and wise.
As our earth becomes increasingly crowded these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance reminding us through their grandeur and age as they stand as the earth’s largest, living monuments how essential they are to our psychology and how precious they are to the soul of the world. Some of the oldest trees have been around for thousands of years and could possibly live a thousand more. But they will not remain ecologically intact without our attention and our willingness to protect what is wild.
I photograph these trees because I know written words will not be enough. I photograph these trees because they may not be here tomorrow. I photograph out of love, and take a risk like love, to expose the source, to be exposed, and to show how vulnerable, like the trees, we all are."--Beth Moon
"Avenue of the Baobabs"
The Baobab tree is native to Madagscar, Africa, and Australia. It is also called the Monkeybread Tree, and can be thousands of years old.
According to Wikipedia,
"Having a distinctive foul smell, tree parts may have been used by primitive tribes to ward off evil spirits, making the tree known in African folklore as "God's Thumb.""
"Indigenous Australians used baobabs as a source of water and food, and used leaves medicinally. They also painted and carved the outside of the fruits and wore them as ornaments. A very large, hollow baobab south of Derby, Western Australia was used in the 1890s as a prison for Aboriginal convicts on their way to Derby for sentencing. The Baobab Prison Tree still stands and is now a tourist attraction."
"Known colloquially as "upside-down tree", it is cited in African lore: after creation, each of the animals was given a tree to plant and the hyena planted the baobab upside-down."
"Tabaldi is the name of the Baobab tree in Sudan and its fruit is Gongalis. Baobab's trunk is used as a tank to store water. People in west Sudan use the hollow in the trunk to save water in the rain season. Gongalis is used to make juice or use to cure stomach and other diseases."
"The fruit is nutritious possibly having more vitamin C than oranges and exceeding the calcium content of cow's milk."
The Kapok, also known as the Ceiba, is native from Mexico down through northern South America. The bark has been used in treatments for headaches and diabetes II. Its flowers are white and pink, and their foul smell attracts bats, which it uses for pollination. Its seed pods can be used for the fiber found inside, which can provide a substitute for down. Sacred in Mayan mythology, where it is considered the Tree of Life. Its spines are mimicked on incense burners, cache vessels, and the "Crocodile Tree" of the ancient Mayans.
According to A Happy Planet,
"The ancient Mayan word for the Kapok tree means "raised up sky". The Maya believed that a great Kapok tree stood at the center of the earth. Its magnificent canopy symbolized the heavens and its flowers symbolized the stars. Today, the Kapok tree remains a true tree of life, supporting vital rainforest plant and animal life."
"Bristle Cone Pine Relic"
"The Crowhurst Yew"
"The Morton Bay Fig"
Again from Beth Moon's site:
"In dreams, the magic that weaves man and animal together glows with vibrancy; there the mysteries of the natural world are plain, the connectedness of life overpowers in a true state of being in balance with the earth. The traceries of energy that link us with the animals of forest, lake and sky are alive if we are quiet enough to see them." --Beth Moon
"The Great Clock of Gormenghast"