'Olive Trees and Culture of the Mediterranean Rim'
There are two independent missions within this project which also strive to mutually enhance and support each other.
The first is to creatively capture a spirit of the alluring, poignant and ageless beauty of olive trees as a fine-art collection, celebrate them, and the associated and symbiotic relationships and cultures around them.
And secondly on completion, the ecology focused project seeks to ask the viewer to consider, reflect wider on that representational symbiosis the trees quietly ask us to understand. For me this is ecology, and the human condition, our relationship with our environment, and increasingly interconnected, our relationship with our fellow man.
Beyond a timeless reputation, their symbolism and capacity to convey is strong, they lend themselves fantastically to an array of message, historically through journals, paintings and frescos, poetry, religious text, verse and illustrations and more contemporarily here through both small and giant photographic print, projection and motion options. Within my own work I find this latitude rare, and that wonderfully adds a layer of creative scope for broader interpretation and use.
Through my father, and a childhood immersed amongst giant oak and beech trees I developed a spiritual connect which then bridged itself into a greater understanding and appreciation of what undoubtedly lies behind that, their place in our fragile ecology that governs our very existence. When I first wandered through an olive grove in Puglia, southern Italy, I felt I was walking amongst gods, animated, noble, gentle gods.
I felt embraced and inspired by them, and that original feeling has not subsided.
Shot primarily, though not entirely on analogue film, the colour and tone of these trees are handled beautifully by the silver content, grain, and tonal range of the black and white emulsion of traditional film. Both digital, and colour film ranges gather and capture these colours and ranges in opposite spectrums, and jointly they convey a majesty, and intrigue.
The project skirts the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Spain / Portugal in the west, to Syria and Lebanon in the east.
It explores, documents, and artistically records the relationship between the trees and their custodians. It celebrates individual trees, owners, workers, while cataloguing and recording regional practices.
The resulting photographic art collection is essentially a celebration of the noble beauty of the regionally differing trees. The multimedia collections are designed to enhance our universal appreciation for these magnificent trees and their ageless heritage, whilst also using this as a platform to raise our level of awareness, active protection, and responsibility to our increasingly fragile singular and collective eco system.
The projects also seeks to work with, and for the benefit of organisations that operate in this region for the alienation of suffering that leads to mass migration, usually by perilous sea crossings, and significantly interlinked the native ecology that exists regionally, where on either side of the Mediterranean solutions may be found between olive culture and those in need of a safe existence.
Today, the European olive tree is under a grave and growing threat from Xylella fastidiosa, a deadly plant pathogen.
For further information please get in touch with Axel directly.