Beth Moon is an American photographer whose work is infused with wonder, awe and mystery and which straddles the border between fantasy and reality. She has spent years photographing ancient trees from around the world. Through her eyes, trees become something quite different to the everyday objects we walk past all our lives. There is a sense of strangeness and otherness that make her compositions quite bewitching, as if they had been plucked from a fairy tale. They are fabulous in the original sense of the world.
In the past Moon has used a medium format camera and a highly involved platinum developing process that imparts, in her words, ‘a beautiful luminosity’ to her prints. She prints on a particular watercolour paper ‘that has been made by the same mill in France since 1492’. It is, as she puts it, ‘Printing methods from the 19th century teamed with technology from the 21st’.
For her latest project, Diamond Nights, in which she photographed ancient African trees against the night sky, Moon turned to a digital camera, so that she could ramp up the ISO, allowing her to shoot on moonless nights with short enough exposures (under 30 seconds) so as to capture the night sky without noticeable star movement. The results are quite magical.
The images here are from four of Beth Moon’s projects: Diamond Nights, Portraits of Time, pictures of ancient trees, Island of the Dragon’s Blood, photos of Socotra, an island off the Horn of Africa, and Odin’s Cove, pictures of a particular spot on the Californian coast that is ‘about a sense of place’.
Portraits of Time
Island of the Dragon’s Blood
All photos © Beth Moon