Monday, May 02, 2011

The World's Oldest Living Things

Rachel Sussman is a photographer who has created a never-been-done-before body of work photographing and recording the worlds oldest living things. Before you click on the video here are some tasters to get your curiosity and fascination going.

clonal quaking aspens #0906-4711 (80,000 years old, fish lake, UT)
This is not a forest, but one tree.  
 la llareta #0308-23b26 (up to 3,000 years old, atacama desert, chile)

This is not moss but a relative of parsley 

 welwitschia mirabilis #0707-22411 (2,000 years old; namib naukluft desert, namibia)
This is a tree

This great video from TED gives you an insight into what she is doing.

Below are some of the quotes and food for thought that jumped out at me.

I’m also trying to create a means in which to step outside our quotidian experience of time and start to consider a deeper timescale.

They grow one centimeter every hundred years, think that really puts human life spans into a different perspective.

They contain thousands of years of their own histories within themselves, and they also contain records of natural and human events.

The oldest living things in the world are a record and celebration of our past, a call to action in the present and a barometer of our future. They’ve survived for millennia in desert, in the permafrost, at the tops of mountains and at the bottom of the ocean. They’ve withstood untold natural perils and human encroachments, but now some of them are in jeopardy and they can’t just get up and get out of the way. Its my hope that, by going to find these organisms, that I can help draw attention to their remarkable resilience and help play a part in insuring their continued longevity into the foreseeable future.

This is an ongoing project, so for more information and updates please CLICK HERE to view the blog.

To view the portfolio of work and more information on Rachel Sussman please CLICK HERE.

To view her map of oldest living things please CLICK HERE.

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