These are Some of the Oldest Living Things in the World
Over the past decade, artist Rachel Sussman has researched, worked with biologists, and travelled the world to photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a stunning visual collection of ancient organisms for a book entitled, The Oldest Living Things in the World.
Sussman’s book spans disciplines, continents, and millennia; underscored by an innate environmentalism and driven by her relentless curiosity. These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow only one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungus in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah.
Her portraits reveal the living history of our planet—and what we stand to lose in the future. These ancient survivors have weathered millennia in some of the world’s most extreme environments, yet climate change and human encroachment have put many of them in danger. Two of her subjects have already met with untimely deaths by human hands.
Her book contains 124 photographs, 30 essays on her 30 subjects, original inforgraphics, and contributions by New York Times science columnist Carl Zimmer and world-renowned curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. Photography edited by Christina Louise Costello of MoMA. The book is published by the University of Chicago Press.
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