Julia Champtaloup, ‘Ripple kelp’, 2019, photographic print
Souvenirs for the Future is an immersive nature experience presented as a series of photographic images and light boxes. Forging a path through varying landscapes, Julia Champtaloup’s images focus on micro views of verdant fields, wild gardens, seaweeds, mosses and ferns against backdrops of threatened or vulnerable land and seascapes. The viewer is invited to observe and connect with natural landscapes and underwater habitats at a personal level.
The ongoing conversation about the Anthropocene, the geologic age in which human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment, comes into play in everything we do and everywhere we look. We are reminded daily of the urgency to restore and protect forests and to renew wetlands and marine environments. But how do we navigate the way forward as stewards of ecosystems in the future? There is growing recognition that by actively immersing ourselves in biophilia, we can build a stronger connection with the natural world, expanding our ecological sensitivity and eco intelligence.
Souvenirs for the Future brings awareness to the urgency of planting for increased biodiversity, growing seaweed to help cool and clean up oceans, and encouraging movements to plant and protect landscape and improve local ecologies. Alongside views into underwater worlds of carbon-sequestering seaweeds, Julia’s photographs depict micro ecosystems of varying landscapes that are also vital habitats for birds, insects and marine life. While presented as aesthetic windows, Champtaloup’s images are intended to be viewed as a pathway through nature and a record of walks in wild and not-so-wild places.
Click here to read the ‘Souvenirs for the Future’ Field Guide (graphic design by Andy Pilkington and edited by Diana Prichard).
“Souvenirs for the Future represent mementos that serve as relics or tokens of lost landscapes and threatened flora and fauna. They might be seen as a metaphor for ways in which we reflect back and wonder how we could have treated our planet so carelessly. The next generation might even ask of us, ‘What did the garden sound like when there were many birds?’or ‘ Did you see many bees and butterflies when you were young?”
It takes time and is often a difficult journey to see a work of nature these days. Contemporary life mostly lacks connection with a past which included extended walks in nature and immersions in the natural elements. We know there are ways of seeing nature without distractions that entail discipline and physically slowing down; we just need reminders. Perhaps going slow is a requirement for pleasure. My images are an encouragement to slow down, to wander and observe.”
Terra Firma takes us into what lies beneath – a land of the luscious biodiversity. Soils, root systems, mosses, lichens, and ferns that live on these micro ecosystems. Mosses and their cousin liverworts (essentially leafy mosses) are plants with tiny leaves that grow in turfs or cushions, mostly in damp areas. Mosses are gardeners’ friends, retaining water around pots and plants. They do the same for nature, holding soils together and keeping in moisture.
Mosses sequester large amounts of carbon and also increase humification of the oil. The micro ecosystems around mosses and ferns and the understory of the forest and provide important ecosystems for all kinds of micro insects, fungi and more. They are constantly creating soil by recycling nutrients.
Here we find images of everyday potential pockets of pollinators – more of which are urgently needed globally to increase biodiversity. Any area can become a pollinator pocket by nurturing weeds like dandelions, ending the use of toxic chemicals and planting or nurturing flowers. As primary pollinators, bees are vital part of both the human and animal food chains, and an integral link in a healthy, happy garden. Across the world, bees have became vulnerable due to urbanisation and loss of habitat, the overuse of pesticides and modern agricultural practices. There are many ways to lay out the welcome mat for bees in your garden by offering food, shelter and water throughout the year.
Pictorial notes from the fields highlights the importance of fields, meadows and prairies, and encouraging wildflowers to reestablish to create habitat for pollinators and homes for small birds and mammals. Lost wild landscapes due to land clearing and agricultural practices mean that wildflower fields and open grasslands are under threat. Mowing is devastating for many species of small insects and animals, but it is most devastating for those (like grasslands songbirds) who are laying eggs and raising young in fields that are cut before offspring fledge. If mowing is required, ensure wildlife has access to alternative open grassy areas where habitat is vital. Observe before mowing to determine possible nesting areas.
Underwater worlds, coastal beaches and rock pools provide wonderful backdrops to explore and learn about the importance of seaweed for sequestering carbon and restoring oceans. Theres is also an urgent need to protect and foster marine environments, in particular seaweeds. The recognition is growing that by actively engaging in marine regeneration through creating seaweed farms and replanting giant underwater kelp beds we can capture and sink carbon to help ameliorate climate change but also encourage biodiversity and create renewed marine ecosystem. Unfortunately, kelp forests in many locations around Australia and in other parts of the world are experiencing habitat loss due to climate change, overgrazing from herbivores, coastal development and pollution.
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