Baobabs are one of Africa's natural wonders: they can live more than 2,000 years, and their massive, water-storing trunks can grow to more than one hundred feet in circumference. They serve as a renewable source of food, fiber, and fuel, as well as a focus of spiritual life. But now, suddenly, the largest baobabs are dying off, literally collapsing under their own weight. Scientists believe these ancient giants are being dehydrated by drought and higher temperatures, likely the result of climate change.
Photographer Beth Moon, already responsible for some of the most indelible images of Africa's oldest and largest baobabs, has undertaken a new photographic pilgrimage to bear witness to this environmental catastrophe and document the baobabs that still survive. In this oversize volume, Moon presents breathtaking new duotone tree portraits of the baobabs of Madagascar, Botswana, South Africa, and Senegal. She recounts her eventful journey to visit these monumental trees in a moving diaristic text studded with color travel photos.
This book also includes an essay by Adrian Patrut, leader of a research team that has studied Africa's largest baobabs and alerted the world tot he threat these majestic trees are facing.
Baobab is not only a compelling photo book and travel narrative, but also a timely ecological warning.
About the Author
Beth Moon, a photographer based in the San Francisco Bay area, has gained international recognition for her large-scale, richly toned platinum-palladium prints. Her other books include Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time; Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees; and Literary Chickens, all by Abbeville Press.
Adrian Patrut, professor of chemistry at Babes-Bolyai University, has led efforts to radiocarbon-date the oldest African baobabs.