My Old Growth project calls attention to the astounding energy, diversity, interdependence, and sculptural beauty of America’s oldest trees, which are increasingly endangered by aggressive logging and climate chaos. Over the past 500 years, Americans have destroyed more than 95 percent of their original forests.
These forests have become indispensable in the fight against climate change. Young trees hold significantly less carbon from the atmosphere than large, old ones; replanting saplings is simply not a solution to the loss of old growth. Our future depends on allowing more forests to fully mature. To borrow from ecologist Suzanne Simard, this project is not simply about how we can save trees. It is about how the trees might save us.
I use a large format camera to convey nuances—the mythic proportions and phenomenal details—of old growth forests that people cannot normally see. Gaining proximity to these epic, life-giving trees could inspire us to protect them.
While Pando is not technically “old growth,” it is breathtakingly ancient and immense. Pando’s ability to rejuvenate —enduring drought, fire, and human development—make it noteworthy among large, mature trees in the United States, as well as unique unto itself.
Born in Massachusetts in 1952, I grew up in America’s postwar economic boom. Like previous generations of Americans, mine did not question the limits of our resources. But by the time I graduated high school in 1970, the first Earth Day had sounded the alarm that we were depleting and destroying the natural resources we needed to survive. For the next half-century, my work would reflect my deepening sense of the nation’s growing social and environmental crises. American Power (2003-2008), New York Arbor (2011-2012), and Property Rights (2017-2020) all demonstrate my long interest in American culture, and increasingly in the costs of unbridled consumption.
Old Growth both pays homage to our magnificent arboreal ancestors and evokes America’s struggle to break from its self-destructive legacy.
Friends of Pando is dedicated and working to educate the public, support research and preservation efforts and inspire stewardship of Pando, the world’s largest tree.
Friends of Pando is a proud partner of Pando’s public land stewards, Fishlake National Forest of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. Learn more about our partnership.
Friends of Pando and its partners are equal opportunity employers.
Just $14 a month supports work to ensure Pando can be enjoyed for generations to come. Make a one-time or, recurring tax deductible donation today.