Photographs of the ‘Oldest Living Things in the World’ collected in new book

by Liam McCabe

posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM EDT


Looking at a photograph is a bit like traveling back in time. The time-travel might be to the moment when the photo was taken—or might be even further back, to some unspecified instant in the course of the subject’s time on earth.

Artist Rachel Sussman takes us back at least 2,000 years with her new book, The Oldest Living Things in the World. Since 2004, Sussman has traveled around the world to photograph ancient plant life, from lichens in Greenland that grow barely one centimeter every hundred years, to predatory fungus in Oregon, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen trees in Utah.

As the book’s description puts it:

"The work spans disciplines, continents, and millennia: it’s part art and part science, has an innate environmentalism, and is driven by existential inquiry. [Sussman] begins at ‘year zero,’ and looks back from there, photographing the past in the present. Together, her portraits capture the living history of our planet – and what we stand to lose in the future."

The Oldest Living Things in the World comes out next Tuesday in hardcover, and features 124 photos and 30 essays. Sussman was also recently named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. Check out the book's website for more.


(Via This Is Colossal)