An unexpected Sunday Amazon delivery yielded one of the most beautiful and transformative books we’ve seen in a long time. Knowing our passion for trees —an ongoing theme on Improvised Life — Cara De Silva made us a gift of Ancient Trees: Portraits in Time, 60 astonishing images photographer Beth Moon made during fourteen years traveling the world. She describes her work as “Portraits of Change. Portraits of Survival. Portraits of Time.”

Beth Moon
Beth Moon

Ancient Trees: Portraits in Time can be read as a sort of adult story book, due to the note on the history and origin of each tree that accompanies each rather magical image, many in remote parts of the world. Moon’s duotone photographs powerfully (and curiously) amplify the vitality of these remarkable trees. The images are interspersed with the occasional perfect poem, like the one by W.S. Merwin, below, which describes the ineffable quality of trees so perfectly. Ancient Trees: Portraits in Time is a deeply heartening book we will leave propped open, to keep in our field of vision as we go about our day.

Beth Moon
Beth Moon
Trees

I am looking at trees
they may be one of the things I will miss
most from the earth
though many of the ones I have seen
already I cannot remember
and though I seldom embrace the ones I see
and have never been able to speak
with one
I listen to them tenderly
their names have never touched them
they have stood round my sleep
and when it was forbidden to climb them
they have carried me in their branches

—W.S. Merwin

Beth Moon
Beth Moon…

Beth Moon
Beth Moon

Beth Moon
Beth Moon

Beth Moon
Beth Moon

Beth Moon
Beth Moon

 

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