Affecting The Effects, 2nd Edition, Statement
How does a rainforest survive the pace of human intrusion? Is a rainforest even worth saving when land resources are rapidly vanishing? Difficult questions to answer in a time where difficult choices need to be made. In the war between humans and nature, progress can only be measured from battle to battle. My series is an attempt to highlight the combined effects of these battles with the long term hope of affecting positively the final outcomes. I also attempt to portray a different way to showcase the beauty, the inside/out view of the DNA soul if you will, of the Daintree and the way I emotionally reacted to it, rather than presenting a straight photograph.
Much has already been written about the ways in which humans are affecting changes within the rainforest biospheres. For example, more than 50,000 trees have been planted. But in spite of this, the damaged effects persist and continue to spread. People are destroying the rainforest to build houses, roads and infrastructure. Mining is a problem because miners clear the rainforest and dig up the ground to extract minerals. Other issues caused by humans are logging, farming, and tourism. Regardless of the frequent horrific images presented in the media, affecting human hearts to change this attitude of careless encroachment remains a painstakingly slow process. Spotlighting the these effects can be a means to continually slow down the advancement of civilization. Personally experiencing the glory and the tragedy of the rainforest is not always an option for most people. When it is however, the experience can be cathartic, as it was for me.
In 2010, my wife, Jayne, and I visited the Daintree rainforest in tropical Queensland, Australia. The Daintree is the oldest on the planet and is estimated at 135 million years with a size totalling over 1200 square kilometres. It contains an almost complete record of the evolution of plant life on Earth and has more ancient families of flowering plants than anywhere else in the world, including the entire Amazon jungle. I also learned that rainforests may still hold vital secrets for humankind, especially, for example, in terms of potential medical cures for AIDS and the yet undiscovered viruses of the future. There is scientific proof that cures do come from rainforests. One-fourth of drugs available today have products that came from rainforests. Sadly, we still continue to pillage these trees and land in the name of human development.
I was inspired to learn about the mission of a non-profit organization called Rainforest Rescue. The purpose of this organization is to promote and protect the world’s rainforests. One of their projects is called the Daintree Buy Back and Protect Forever, which purchases local properties from private landholders of high conservation value surrounded by World Heritage rainforests. This land is then added back to the protected tracts of land in Australia that are part of the World Heritage locations. These acquisitions in the Daintree contribute to long term plans for the creation of protective corridors for the endangered Cassowary. This ostrich-like bird is a vital contributor to the proliferation of plant life within the rainforest. The mission of Rainforest Rescue is a perfect example of how our efforts can affect or change the negative effects of our human devastation.
One of the things that came to mind during our visit was that I felt like I was viewing the DNA of this ancient rainforest as portrayed by the exotic and plush foliage. Each piece in this series mostly consists of composited photographic images I shot while in the Daintree and elsewhere within Australia. In most images, I used inversion to reveal the inner, raw beauty of each scene. Spotlight vignetting within the black and white images was used to draw more attention and significance to the selected effects. I felt privileged to be there and bear witness to the hidden life and potential of each living creation. This was certainly a spiritual experience for me.
Although my inspiration springs from these rainforest impressions, the series should really be viewed as a whole in an attempt to influence, even in some small way, the hearts and minds of viewers of all the natural wonders in this world. Human erosion and devastation on many scales seem to be accepted by us with despair and resignation. We see the impact of changes to our surroundings everyday, the effects of these intrusions, whether they are around the world or around the next block in our own neighborhood. We need to change this if our planet is to survive. It is my hope that we can affect the jadedness effects of the heart with an increased sense of responsibility and respect for the protection and renewal of these natural resources.
*** Any image found in this series or on my website is available as a print purchase! Just email me at email@example.com.