(P. ramorum) V: Ground Work

Phytophthora ramorum (P.ramorum)
Location: Glenariffe Forest Park

This was an odd one for me. I was photographing the affected area to discover how to photograph the content for this project.

Although the subject matter is pressing, engaging and urgent, the method of repeating a photographic composition is not. Making portraits of dead and dying tree stumps is boring (when considered en masse). The sloping terrain of the Glenariffe forest park combined with the heavily distressed woodland floor makes for 'beautiful' compositions, genuinely lovely images of destruction and deforestation. However, this does not intrigue me.

Instead I am drawn to the details scatted about the scene: painted indicators; chainsaw marks, split trunks, fungi patterns across tree rings, and so on. The beautiful minutia. The wide photographs work well to establish the scene and to record the scale of the soil erosion and deforestation, but the most engrossing points are found by moving much closer.

"The devil is in the detail". This was a favourite mantra of one of my photography teachers, and I suppose this has stuck with me.

P.ramorum, or "Sudden Oak Death", has already had a devestating impact on America in the past decade, specifically Northern California. Here is a video from QUEST's archive series on P.ramorum:

(sorry about the forced crop on the video)


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