Bertha, from the series Akna
Akna is a series of portraits of tree stumps, which explores the theme of regeneration. I made the work in 2006 with an 8x10 camera in a nature reserve in the central Chiapas mountain range. The Mayan word for “mother,” Akna is also the indigenous culture’s goddess of birth and fertility.The tree stumps in the images are covered with epiphytes — such as ferns, mosses, bromeliads, and orchids — which are not parasitic, but rather they feed off of the air and rain and simply need a supportive base from which to grow. As a nurturing source for new life, the stumps, despite being truncated, experience a metaphorical rebirth. I anthropomorphized them through photography ascribing gender and age and naming them after people who played a similar role in my life as the stumps do to the epiphytes.
This project was made possible by a generous 8x10 film grant from Kodak.