Green Veratrum, Alaska, 1993


Green Veratrum, Alaska

While photographing throughout Alaska in 1993, I spent a week or so in the Valdez area. This area is amazingly beautiful, with steep, rocky canyons and snow capped mountains only a few miles from the ocean. It is an area full of excitement and adventure.

I explored many small sideroads in this area and on one of my excursions, I came upon a large collection of wild Veratrum plants. These plants were growing in a sheltered canyon next to a small river. The days are very long at this latitude, so that it really never gets totally dark during the summer.

Due to the long days and the rich floodplain soil, these Veratrum plants were growing at an almost explosive rate. Over a three day period, I kept returning to this location, carefully walking among the plants and viewing them under different lighting conditions, trying to find a way to express within the limitations of a photograph, the life and vigor I saw and felt. The shapes and forms were quite unique and gave me an opportunity to portray an aspect of life which is rarely seen as clearly in the physical world.

Of the three photographs I took during those days, this one best conveyed the sense of intensity and wild abandonment. The forms and shapes remind me of fire and flames as much as they do of plants—a remembrance of that burning flame of life which brings all of creation into being and sustains all things.


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