Archives For Documentary

Árbol del Tule (The Tree of Tule)

“People aren’t the apex species they think they are. Other creatures-bigger, smaller, slower, faster, older, younger, more powerful-call the shots, make the air, and eat sunlight. Without them, nothing.” From The Overstory by Richard Powers

I have been drawn to trees all my life and have photographed them extensively over the years. (see the Nocturnes and The Murmur prints) After reading The Overstory now I know why; Trees are incredibly social and wise beings yet humans are somehow far too ignorant to grasp this scientific fact. No one dares to ask why after a walk in the woods they feel better. It’s because you’re with living social beings who contain a quarter of your genetic makeup. They are your family and you should treat them that way.

I was very luck to see Árbol del Tule (The Tree of Tule). It is a tree located on the grounds the town center of Santa María del Tule in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is a Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum), or ahuehuete (meaning “old man of the water” in Nahuatl). The age is at least 3,000 years. It has the stoutest (widest) trunk of any tree in the world. (The next widest tree is a Giant Sequoia with a 8.98 m (29.5 ft) diameter). The DNA was tested to confirm it is one living being and not a group of trees. In 2001 it was placed on a UNESCO tentative list of World Heritage Sites. This tree gives off an immense amount of energy and no doubt why a chapel was built right next to it.

The Tree of Tule is still growing…

Say what you will about the music of Mr. Springsteen but I am always stunned by his ability to speak so eloquently about his art, music and mythic writing (that captures his american life so perfectly and profoundly). He is our great observer and this HBO documentary sums up so beautifully why he is one of our national treasures. Listen to a true master explain how he made his great double album, The River.

 

One of the things most overlooked is his pinpoint writings on love.
 
“She’ll lead you down a path
There’ll be tenderness in the air
She’ll let you come just far enough
So you know she’s really there
Then she’ll look at you and smile
And her eyes will say
She’s got a secret garden
Where everything you want
Where everything you need
Will always stay
A million miles away”

 

From: The Secret Garden

 

Congrats to the the winner of the European Publishers Award for Photography (EPAP) 2015 who is Russian photographer Danila Tkachenko with his project Restricted Areas which is a wonderful and haunting series of images on the Russian “technocratic future that never came”.

“The project “Restricted Areas” is about utopian strive of humans for technological progress.

I travel in search of places which used to have great importance for the technical progress – and which are now deserted. Those places lost their significance together with the utopian ideology which is now obsolete. Secret cities that cannot be found on maps, forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity. The perfect technocratic future that never came…”

Danila Tkachenko

 

Airplane – amphibia with vertical take-off VVA14. The USSR built only two of them in 1976, one of which has crashed during transportation.

Airplane – amphibia with vertical take-off VVA14. The USSR built only two of them in 1976, one of which has crashed during transportation.

 

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The world’s largest diesel submarine.

 

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“Bulgaria” ship lifted from underwater, 122 people drowned on it.

 

Via http://www.danilatkachenko.com/projects/restricted-areas/

All photos copyright Danila Tkachenko

The Photographs of Danila Tkachenko

Entering its 3rd year of drought California is in a water crisis of unimaginable magnitude should this continue at the current rate. Yet the state continues to develop desert lands. There have been volumes written on this subject yet one photograph can say everything we need to know in mere seconds. Damon Winter nails it with a photograph that screams out why?

This is the power of documentary photography and a new series I will add to this blog.

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via the New York Times

 

 

One Photograph: Unintelligent Land Development

As the year draws to a close and most are listing their top 10 lists for 2014 I will leave you with what I think is one of the most profound works I have seen this past year. Part document and part performance piece, Simon Norfolk travels to Africa for the NYTimes to photograph the slow disappearance of Lewis Glacier on Mount Kenya due to the profound effects of global warming. His solution to depicting this reality of our world (quickly reaching the point of no return) is both poetic, beautiful and unnerving as he outlines the receding glacier by long exposure while carrying a torch. His description below says it all…

…”The mountain didn’t seem overwhelming or otherworldly now, but rather broken and vulnerable. As Norfolk worked, he could hear meltwater rushing down the glacier’s flanks. Standing next to that ice field, he says, was like standing next to “the exhausted remains of something that was once glorious.” He thought of nature documentaries, of scenes in which, say, a bull elephant is tranquilized by a researcher and crumples on the ground. “You can approach it now, because it’s safe,” Norfolk says. “But you feel its desperateness, as if it is opening one eye and looking back at you, saying, ‘What have you done to me?’ ”…

 

nytimes simon norfolk

 

 

 

Simon Norfolk: The Best Photograph of 2014