Anna Randal for Art-Sheep
Ancient Wood is a beautiful series of black-and-white photographs, created by Los Angeles-based photographer, Steve Engelmann.
After shooting on film, the photographer developed the photos following a wet darkroom process that gave his work the right feeling. Engelmann combines the human form with the notion of wearing, creating an image that reminds the viewer of an age-old living tree. As the photographer explains on his website, “Somewhere buried deep within our DNA linger the remnants of our pre-human biological ancestors. My series, Ancient Wood, began with a walk through the Methuselah Grove in the White Mountains of eastern California where the world’s oldest living trees anchor themselves to the gravelly dolomite. The twisted heartwood of the trees evokes the molecular structure of the double-helix while at the same time taking the feminine form. Not unlike our DNA code, the alternating light and dark lines of tree rings resemble the digital secret of product bar codes. The tree rings of Bristlecone Pines have been used to reconstruct accurate histories of our past climate dating back over 10,000 years. In the constructed environment of our modern lives, many of us have forgotten, or denied, that we are part of the natural world. This perceptual disconnect between humans and Nature underlies a range of pressing issues from the spiritual, psychological, societal, economic and clearly environmental. The Ancient Wood series illustrates the link between the unspoken organic code and the modern being.”