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a pure documentary. But how do you make a portrait of an individual organism? I wanted to show them in a way that feels real. Sometimes I could revisit them and take multiple images. Sometimes, I had 15 minutes and that was all. COTW: What would you call your photographs—portraits or emotional landscapes? RS: That’s something I’ve thought about and talked about in doing my work. Maybe they are landscapes that are more about ideas than specific places. The photography takes place in 1/60th of a second. Juxtaposing 1/60th of a second against thousands of years of my subject’s life is an emotional experience that can feel quite abstract. COTW: What kind of equipment did you use? RS: The size of my prints is quite large. I shoot with a Mamiya and I use film. The quality of the work that comes from film is still unsurpassed. But I have a digital camera as well. I use digital as a way to sketch…to do thinking on the spot…to see immediate results. And some of the smaller images in my book are digital. COTW: Did this project challenge your understanding of being alive? RS: Over the course of these many years, yes, it has changed my perspective. It got me thinking about decision making, long-term thinking, ethical and moral decisions with the understanding that everything has a ripple effect down the road. Everything is interconnected. Something wonderful can be something daunting. Something beautiful can also be frightening. COTW: Since you started the project, have any of your subjects been lost? RS: Of the 30 subjects I documented, we have already lost two. One was the underground forest. Thankfully, it was not the only one. The other was the Senator Tree (a 3,500-year-old cypress) in Orlando. It was still living but hollow, and some kids sneaked into it and set it on fire. But none of the oldest living organisms is safe. All are in constant danger from humans and from climate change. Meet the Artists A new, after-hours program series begins on June 23, 7–8:30 pm. Join us for the kick off. Participate in a moderated conversation with artists Shelley Reed and Rachel Sussman to learn more about their current exhibits, In Dubious Battle and Oldest Living Things in the World. The purpose of this new adulteducation program is to expand our audience by offering opportunities for art enthusiasts to interact with the collection in behind-thescenes, non-traditional interpretive programs. Rachel Sussman’s exhibition, Oldest Living Things in the World features: An interactive art book, Among the Oldest Living Things, within the exhibition invites visitors to think about the concept of Deep Time. You can compare your age with the millenniaold organisms in Sussman’s photographs and extrapolate into the future as you enter notations and sketches to mark significant events and make your own predictions. Shelley Reed’s exhibition, In Dubious Battle features: A digital interface in the exhibit facilitates visitor exploration of the rich historical references embedded throughout In Dubious Battle. Touch a highlighted detail of Reed’s narrative painting on a computer screen and it will expand to reveal the art historical image(s) she is referencing. Touch the audio icon and hear the artist’s voice as she explains her motivations, narratives and methods. – Jane Lavino, Sudgen Family Curator of Education and Exhibits Oldest Living Things in the World: By Rachel Sussman will be on exhibit May 16 – August 23, 2015. The corresponding Oldest Living Things in the World Mix’d Media event will be on Thursday, August 13, 6–9 pm. Visit WildlifeArt.org to learn more. All images: Oldest Living Things in the World, © Rachel Sussman Rachel Sussman Shelley Reed Call of the Wild Magazine | 2015–16 31


CallOfTheWild_2015_2016
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