Higher Plants of the Anthropocene.
“Higher Plants” include most plants we know and see every day. According to a quick google search, higher plants are “all plants which can be planted: all trees, shrubs, flowering herbs, ferns, and fern relatives.” We exist on this earth together, in hostile, man-made conditions. I am struck by a plant’s resiliency – proliferating despite all the ways human alter their environment, their soil, and their air. I marvel at not just a plant’s resiliency in polluted industrial sites, but those able to survive in my home, in a city, or when exposed to cancer causing chemicals or radiation. Plants may not need humans (and in fact may do better without us) but we very much need plants for sustenance and for life. It makes sense that we care deeply about them. I use plant prints to document minutiae in my life and to document this particular moment in human history on this planet.
I thought about how plants are present for humans in every aspect of our lives, from providing food, shelter, and oxygen, to being the basis of items we use daily. But on a grand level, plants represent our exchanges and migrations, for example through global trade, and plants help chart/document human and geologic timelines. Botanist Anna Atkins made cyanotypes for her publication, “Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions," in 1843 - at the end of the industrial age and before the nuclear and technological ages. Her cyanotype images of algae and seaweed were not thought of as art but a way to catalog plants - a way to create a sense of categorical order and control over the natural world. But this is silly when I consider the chaos humans unleashed on the environment from that period until today. Using the same photographic process of Atkins, my plant prints are representative of our time now, on the cusp of the next great mass extinction initiated by man’s “advances.”