"Ancient Wood" by Steve Engelmann

August 12, 2015

Shot on film and created entirely using a wet darkroom process to produce beautiful gelatin prints, Los Angeles-based photographer, Steve Engelmann’s series Ancient Wood intertwines age-old living trees with the human form. Writing about this series and put best in his own words Engelmann says, “ 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.