The Oldest Living Things in the World (PDF) is a remarkable journey through time and location. Over the previous years, artist Rachel Sussman has really checked out, handled biologists, and travelled the world to image continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years of ages and older. Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a marvelous and unique visual collection of ancient organisms, unlike anything that has really been established in the arts or sciences formerly, insightfully and accessibly informed by Sussman along the technique.
Her work is both timeless and timely and covers disciplines, continents, and centuries. It is highlighted by a natural environmentalism and driven by Sussman’s relentless interest. She begins at “year no,” and remembers from there, photographing the past in the present. These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow simply one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungis in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old nest of aspen in Utah. Sussman took a trip to Antarctica to visualize 5,500-year-old moss; Australia for stromatolites, primeval organisms linked to the oxygenation of the world and the begins of life on Earth; and to Tasmania to tape-record a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub that’s the last individual of its kind. Her photos expose the living history of our world—and what we stand to lose in the future. These ancient survivors have really weathered centuries in a few of the world’s most extreme environments, yet environment adjustment and human violation have really put much of them in threat. Two of her subjects have really presently fulfilled unpredicted deaths by human hands.
Alongside the photos, Sussman hands down intriguing – and frequently unpleasant – tales of her around the world experiences discovering her subjects and shares insights from the scientists who examine them. The oldest living things in the world are a record and occasion of the past, a call to action in the present, and a barometer of our future.