Rachel Sussman

Oldest Living Things in the World

For seven years, Rachel Sussman, a photographer, has researched, worked with biologists, and travelled all over the world to photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older. The project spans disciplines, continents, and millennia: it is part art and part science, it has innate environmentalism and is driven by philosophic inquiry. Rachel began at ‘year zero,’ and looked back from there. This original index of millennia-old organisms has never before been compiled in the arts or the sciences. From an artistic perspective, she says that she hopes to foster a means of personal connection with an experience of deep time and long-term thinking. From an environmental perspective, the aim is to raise awareness of the existence of (and advance protection for) the planet’s most elderly inhabitants. From a scientific perspective, it has the potential to open up dialogue and serious enquiry into a wealth of previously untapped knowledge – global species longevity. As part of the project, Rachel makes large-scale colour photographs that are exhibited in galleries and museums. Rachel received a grant to complete the project during 2011 in order to photograph approximately eight more individuals, including 5,000-year-old moss in Antarctica, a 4,000-year-old Cypress in Iran, and a 43,000-year-old shrub in Tasmania.

For more information please visit Rachel’s site here.