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Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time Hardcover – September 9, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Gift Guide Selection

"A project with weight and lasting beauty…Ancient Trees provides the kind of thorough and thoughtful portrait that each of these majestic long-lived survivors deserves.” —Christian Science Monitor

“[Moon] creates magical images that in their blacks and whites, silvers and grays, capture the marvel of arboreal forms and textures . . . [a] jewel of a book.” —Booklist, Starred Review

"Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time is well named. One cannot look at Beth Moon's images of gnarled, overgrown trees and not feel the intrinsic gravity of time." —Printers Row Journal, Chicago Tribune

Featured in the Wall Street Journal's Weekend "Exhibit" spotlight

"Trees are notoriously hard to photograph, but Moon captures their individuality with reverent portrayals…these are lavish, awe-inspiring pictures...Crossing with ease between realms of natural history and art, this will appeal to all with even the mildest horticultural or photographic interests.” –Library Journal

“Beth Moon’s stunning images capture the power and mystery of the world’s remaining ancient trees. These hoary forest sentinels are among the oldest living things on the planet, and it is desperately important that we do all in our power to ensure their survival. I want my grandchildren—and theirs—to know the wonder of such trees in life and not only from photographs of things long gone. Beth’s portraits will surely inspire many to help those working to save these magnificent trees.”
—Dr. Jane Goodall

About the Author

Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, makes her exhibition prints exclusively with the platinum/palladium process, which affords the greatest possible permanence and tonal range. Moon’s work has been published widely in magazines, and she is represented by galleries in the United States, Italy, Israel, Brazil, and Dubai.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789211955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789211958
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By HMS Warspite TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Photographer Beth Moon's "Ancient Trees" is the unique product of an unusual quest, to capture in beautiful black and white the images of many ancient trees, from Britain to the United States, to Cambodia, Africa, and beyond. This well-executed coffee-table format allows the viewer to approach each unique tree on its own terms, to be appreciated for its age and its disposition. Some grace churchyards, some inhabit monuments such as Angkor Wat, and some are to be found with others of their kind. The book features a couple of short essays and an index of the pictures, but mostly this book is about the trees. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hard-to-believe 8-inch x 10-inch black and white photographs of unusual trees from around the world. This is a great coffee-table book which displays the wonders of nature. And the Amazon price of $35 is also hard to believe.

The book is nicely balanced with an introduction by the author, an article on the form and function of ancient trees by Todd Forrest, 62 tree pictures followed by 15 pages of captions, closing comments on the art of the tree by Steven Brown, and a 2-page index of the trees shown.

I highly recommend this book for those interested in unusual trees and nature in general.
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Format: Hardcover
Over the past fourteen years Beth Moon has traveled the world to photograph the "oldest souls" living on earth, its ancient trees. She has shared these portraits with us in her new book, Ancient Trees, Portraits of Time. Her images along with essays by Todd Forrest and Steven Brown makes this book a treasure.

We had the chance to ask Beth a few questions on her work.

The best portraits are taken when the photographer feels a connection with the subject, what connection did you feel to the subjects in these images?

It's hard to describe the connection I have to these trees. To say I felt wonder and admiration is putting it lightly, rather it felt like being struck by lightning! Being able to visit these old trees was an experience that I wanted to repeat again and again.

Have you been able to revisit them?

Yes, there are a number of trees that I have gone back to and many others I would love to revisit. For me, it is especially interesting to see changes the seasons bring to the trees.

Did you always know that you wanted this body of work to be a book?

The deeper I got into the project and realized how challenging it was to get to a lot of these locations, it became clear that I wanted to share these images with people who would not be able to see them, so yes, I thought a book would be the best way to do this.

What do you hope people will take from this work?

I have a reverence for nature and certainly it is hard not to sense the majesty of these very large, old trees when in their presence. I hope it permeates my work to some degree. If this comes through in my portraits then I am satisfied. Ultimately, I would hope we could find a better way to live with the environment.

This is a book that should be in your collection if you are a lover of art and nature.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I anxiously awaited the arrival of this book for 6 weeks and when it finally came I was so disappointed with it that I was sure I must've gotten a knock-off copy. Many of the images were very grainy, there were some digital artifacts and that particular clipping of tones in the shadows I associate with ink jet printing. I immediately made some high res scans of the worst examples and emailed the publisher and the artist to verify it. The publisher explained that they worked closely with the artist and that the scans I made were indeed of their work and not a knock-off and that the artist supplied the proofs and files for the printing. So, the publisher is not to blame for what I perceive as a poor job and it was apparently what the artist intended. I can't understand why one would go to all the trouble of making platinum/palladium prints, known for their tonal range and high Dmax, and then compromise it so much IMHO. The artist never did reply to me. Ah well, you be the judge; none of the other reviewers have mentioned it. Perhaps I was expecting Ansel Adams like impact from these images, for they are well composed and lighted, and the book itself is well made with nice thick pages.
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This is far more art than reference or trees/woodworking. Moon took gorgeous pictures of some amazing trees & then processed them in a special way (platinum/paladium mix?) to make them last forever. They're kind of B&W, but glow a bit more even on the printed page. Lovely. And the trees are incredible as is the way she captured them.

Unfortunately, she made the decision to put just a plate on each page, then put a separate section in the back with thumbnails & a very brief explanation for each. At least she got the Latin names & locations for them. She could have easily put the explanation on most pages & on a facing page otherwise & I wish she had. Flipping back & forth sucked. The paucity of information was just plain frustrating. Luckily, I do have good references. As a coffee table book for someone who really appreciates photography & trees, this is a darn good book. I'm such a person as is my wife.
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