Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

jarrid spicer

Savannah, United States

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Artist's Description

It is estimated that when European settlers first came to the New World, forest covered over forty-percent of the land that is now the continental United States. Today, less then one-quarter of one-percent of that ancient forest is left. My photographic images are a celebration of that original forest.

I’ve traveled the country extensively, searching for remnants of the original forest. I set out to create images that allow a viewer to sense the majestic beauty and unique character of these rapidly disappearing areas. Some images have a dark, claustrophobic feel; some are open and airy. Others focus on the forest floor, exhibiting a rich diversity of plant life. Some of the areas I’ve photographed are considered to be the rarest and most endangered ecosystems in the world, found only on two small islands.

By desaturating my images, I’ve given them an old, antique feeling. Shooting large and medium format films, I have created images that approach—if not surpass—the size of the actual plants. Often, the sheer magnitude of the trees was so staggering that a single negative could not do the experience justice. So, in the spirit of the masters such as James Balog and David Hockney, I chose to shoot multiple negatives. I didn’t do this to normalize perspective like Balog or to show motion like Hockney but, rather, to impress upon viewer the experience of standing, humbled at the base of these ancient trees.

The importance of conserving such ecosystems is finally starting to trickle into to mainstream consciousness. My intent in presenting images of these last vestiges of what was vast, ancient forest, is not didactic: it is to communicate the feeling one has when standing alone amidst something so ancient, beautiful, strong—and fragile.

Artwork Comments

  • Peter Zentjens
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