AUDUBON NATIVE PLANTS PROJECT

This series represents the beginning of a multi-season project using cyanotype to document and consider the life-cycles of the varied native plant species living at Maine Audubon's Gilsland Farm sanctuary. Working closely with James Kennedy, Properties Management Assistant at Maine Audubon to document the early growth of seedlings at the Farm, Michel created this first series of cyanotypes this spring. With an eye on conservation and an interest in documenting endangered and thriving native species, this coming year we will work together to explore the seasonal shifts and bright lives of native plants.

The work is inspired by 19th century British botanist Anna Atkins (1799-1871), who was working at the same time as James Audubon (1785-1851). Atkins was the first to use this early photographic technique for botanicals and building upon her tradition, the specimens are presented in an emotional and scientific light that captures the essence of the season and the life of the plants. Each seedling was carefully handled and replanted so as not to disturb (too greatly) the delicate early growing process. The plants represent a rebirth and an emergence from winter to life gushing spring. Cyanotypes rely upon the natural elements of sun and water to create an image and the process conceptually aligns with the transformational life cycle of plants and the environmental concerns of this project. Through this year long adventure Michel is creating a brief, blue record of our time, a visual diary of the local environment that celebrates discovery and encourages us to take a closer look at the beauty and wonder all around us. The Spring exhibition is coordinated with Audubon’s annual native plant sale which promotes native species and furthers our understanding of their importance within Maine’s wonderfully diverse ecosystems and how we can care for them.