Gone in a Flash

A new photography exhibit explores the ephemeral—both natural and manmade.

September 08, 2015

Photo: Alexandra Penney

“Fractured Botanicals,” a new show of artist Alexandra Penney’s photographs, features vibrant images of blooming flowers alongside black-and-white shots of southern swamps. It may seem like an unlikely combination, but the beauty in both is fleeting—and the exhibit is an exploration of the ephemeral.

The bright blooms Penney captured on film only lasted a few days in the physical world. Nothing lasts forever in nature, but human activity is making us lose species and ecosystems before their time. That’s where Penney’s juxtaposition of haunting images of mangroves and cypress trees comes in—these wetlands in Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina are disappearing from habitat loss and sea-level rise caused by climate change. Using digital manipulation to fracture the images into thousands of tiny dots and lines, Penney even further highlights the vanishing act of the trees and petals.

If you find yourself in New York this month, “Fractured Botanicals” will be on view at the Curator Gallery in Chelsea. Go see it while you still can—like its subjects, it won’t be around forever. The exhibit runs from September 10 to October 17.

Photo: Alexandra Penney

Photo: Alexandra Penney

Photo: Alexandra Penney

Photo: Alexandra Penney

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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