Orion Magazine is one of the oldest and most respected environmental and cultural magazines in the US and their May/June issue which is out today features my ‘Bamboo (Six Seconds)’ project. The images are beautifully laid out over five pages in a great looking edition ( I would say that..) which also includes, for those of you into the language of landscape, an extract from Robert Macfarlane’s new book, Landmarks.
Every image in the ‘Bamboo (Six Seconds)’ project has an exposure time of six seconds. This idea came from a quote I read that every six seconds fifteen acres of the planet is deforested. The full project statement continues:-
To the Chinese, bamboo holds iconic status, representing the harmony between nature and man – and symbolising civilisation. In myths, literature, calligraphy and painting bamboo’s characteristics embody the finest human virtues – integrity, humility and purity. Comparing a person to bamboo is considered the highest possible praise of their character.
Touted as a miracle crop to counter deforestation, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Growing up to four feet a day, one hectare of bamboo sequesters sixty-two tons of carbon dioxide per year. Generating up to 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees it can be used to produce everything from food, fabrics, paper, building material and oil.
However rising demand from the west has brought new environmental concerns for bamboo forests. Increased use of unregulated pesticides for production plus the strong chemical solvents required to process the bamboo have poisoned watercourses and threaten precious animal habitat. Indiscriminate harvesting has resulted in half the world’s species of bamboo now being in imminent danger of extinction.