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Salt photos of native plants found across the United States. GOAL: Exhibition and Book. Bio-diversity conservation through art. Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on August 10, 2012.

Salt photos of native plants found across the United States. GOAL: Exhibition and Book. Bio-diversity conservation through art.

About this project

My name is Joshua Marowitz, and I am a fine-art photographer. This summer I will be traveling across the United States in an effort to photograph native botanicals. I will create unique salt prints from these images. My goal is to hold a public exhibition of this work and to produce a series of handcrafted books comprised of these salt prints.  The books and exhibition will help educate about native plants and promote awareness of the need to restore our country's threatened biodiversity.  All of my traveling will take place on my motorcycle, allowing me to leave a smaller environmental footprint. You can keep up with my adventure at ridefornatives.blogspot.com

Why am I doing this?

Two years ago I started photographing and creating salt prints of Pennsylvania native plants. Now I am embarking on a journey to document native botanical species throughout the country.

Titled “The Natives,” this body of work will feature native botanical inhabitants of  nine ecoregions of the continental United States . My goal is to foster awareness of the threat faced by these plants by capturing their diosyncratic beauty, presenting them as visual objects removed from their natural context and displayed as singularly aesthetic.

Using the historical salt printing process, I plan to capture the exquisite, almost regal, detail and tone of these plants as well as the history and evolution they impart. Each print is created with precise detail yet exudes a soft, tangible feeling. Biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, and natural conservation practices have become essential action points in both urban and suburbanized areas. Education and awareness of our natural surrounding is more critical than ever.  I recall realizing that I could identify 50 corporations by their logo, yet if you put a dozen native plants in front of me, I couldn’t name a single one. The journey of creating this series allows me to share a conversation and educate through my passion for both the environment and the photographic print.

Where am I going?

I will be heading to nine diverse ecoregions of the United States. My goal is explore natural regions close to populated areas such as industrial sites, cities, and agricultural landscapes, as these spaces are in the most need of land restoration for native plants.

ECOREGIONS:
•Northern Forest
•North West Forest Mountains
•Marine West Coast Forest
•Eastern Temperate Forest
•Great Plains Region
•North American Desserts
•Mediterranean California
•Temperate Sierras
•Tropical Wet Forest

Why Salt Prints?

In 1834 William Henry Fox Talbot discovered that by coating a sheet of paper with sodium chloride (salt) along with silver nitrate, one could make a light-sensitive emulsion that would produce a permanent (fixed) image.  This was  the discovery of photography.  One hundred seventy-six years later,  I can still walk into my darkroom, coat my paper with virtually the same chemistry that Talbot used, and produce a salt print that achieves the kind of tonal range and detail that rival even today’s most advanced printing methods.

I have always worked and experimented with alternative photographic processes. The historic salt printing process allows us a glimpse into the analog form of photography that is rapidly disappearing. It is, for me, the perfect vehicle for complimenting the subject both physically and metaphorically.

Why Native Plants?

While training recently to become a certified Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, I became far more in touch with native plants and the crucial role they play in our landscape’s biodiversity.

 "As open space disappears, it becomes increasingly necessary to look at our own landscapes as a refuge for biodiversity.  Native organisms including plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects create an intricate web of life. This is a wonderful natural orchestration with each species’ life cycle highly dependent on the others.

" For example: Spring wild flowers are pollinated by and provide nectar to tiny flies. These flies become food for early spring birds. The timing is orchestrated perfectly. It is not a coincidence that the local native plants have seeds and berries ready just when the birds need them. Bird droppings are the best way to get their seed dispersed. Plants and animals that have evolved together depend upon each other for survival.

"Unfortunately, native plants, a vital part of the natural web of life, are being lost at an alarming rate. Removing a certain native plant from the landscape will likely remove the insect that feeds on that plant, which in turn may eradicate the bird that feeds on that insect. And this is just a simplified example. The loss of a species can quickly escalate to affect an entire ecosystem. To paraphrase Paul Ehrlich, author of Native Plants: Relationship of Biodiversity to the Function of the Biosphere, removing native species from an ecosystem is like taking rivets out of an airplane wing; it is impossible to know which one will be the last one that was holding the whole thing together." - The Native Plant Society of Ohio

A wonderful source on this subject and a true inspiration to me is Doug Tallamy, professor and chair of entomology and wildlife ecology The University of Delaware. He is the author of Bringing Nature Home, which explains why growing native plants in your own backyard can help sustain the crucial biodiversity that is quickly becoming extinct.

What will your funding provide for this Project?

With your help, I will be able to travel across the United States to photograph native botanicals, create unique salt prints, and fund an exhibition of the work as well as handcrafted books of the images.

To complete this project, I will need a camera, a portable scanner, and a printer. To create the reward postcards to be sent along the way as well as the salt prints and the hand-bound books, I will need ink, postcards, postage, photo-making chemistry, frames, mattes, and other book-binding materials. I will also need gas, food, and camping fees for the journey. All proceeds will go toward the completion of this project.

My only funding source is my Kickstarter campaign. In an effort to meet my goal, I am offering unique gifts for each pledge made (some of which, namely the postcards, will be mailed along the way).

REWARDS FOR YOUR DONATIONS!!

•  Everyone receives a thank you on my website!
•  Postcard along the road
•  Postcards along the road from all 9 ecoregions I'm traveling through
•  Cyanotype postcard hand crafted and sent on the road
•  8" x 10" unique hand made Cyanotype print
•  8" x 10" unique hand made salt print
•  6" x 6"  hand made box of 1/2 dozen salt prints
•  14" x 20" unique hand made salt image
•  A one-of-a-kind hand bound book of salt images

Cyanotype (Sun Print) Postcard for a minimum pledge of $125
Cyanotype (Sun Print) Postcard for a minimum pledge of $125

Using the historical salt printing process, I plan to capture the exquisite, almost regal, detail and tone of these plants as well as the history and evolution they impart. Each print is created with precise detail yet exudes a soft, tangible feeling. Biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, and natural conservation practices have become essential action points in both urban and suburbanized areas. Education and awareness of our natural surrounding is more critical than ever.  I recall realizing that I could identify 50 corporations by their logo, yet if you put a dozen native plants in front of me, I couldn’t name a single one. The journey of creating this series allows me to share a conversation and educate through my passion for both the environment and the photographic print.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    13 backers

    • THANK YOU POSTCARD at project completion depicting a native plant from this project. Your name will also be listed on my website with my thanks.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    31 backers

    • POSTCARD FROM THE ROAD! You will receive a photo postcard from me somewhere along my journey. Your name will also be listed on my website with my thanks.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    19 backers Limited (31 left of 50)

    • POSTCARDS FROM EVERY STOP! You will receive at least 9 photo postcards from all ecoregions through-out my journey. Your name will also be listed on my website with my thanks.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    8 backers Limited (12 left of 20)

    • CYANOTYPE (SUN PRINT) POSTCARD FROM THE ROAD! You will receive a hand crafted cyanotype postcard created and sent from the road! * Look at the bottom of the page to see an example! Also includes 9 photo postcards and website thank you.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    1 backer

    • 8" x 10" CYANOTYPE PRINT! You will receive a hand crafted cyanotype print of a native plant of your choice from the project! Also includes 9 photo postcards, cyanotype postcard and website thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    4 backers

    • 8" x 10" SALT PRINT! You will receive a hand crafted salt print of a native plant of your choice from the project! This is the flagship photo process of this project and embodies exquisite detail and tonal range. Also includes 8" x 10" cyanotype print, 9 photo postcards, cyanotype postcard and website thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $650 or more

    1 backer

    • 6" x 6" BOX OF SALT PRINTS. You will receive a box of a 1/2 dozen salt prints of native plants. The box will be created from a vinyl record sleeve of my choice and include white gloves for handling prints. This is the flagship photo process of this project and embodies exquisite detail and tonal range. Also includes 8" x 10" cyanotype print, 9 photo postcards, cyanotype postcard and website thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    • 14" x 20" OVERSIZED SALT PRINT! You will receive an extra large hand made salt print of a native plant of your choice from this project! This is the flagship photo process of this project and embodies exquisite detail and tonal range. Also includes custom box of 1/2 dozen 6" x 6" salt prints, 8" x 10" cyanotype print, 9 photo postcards, cyanotype postcard and website thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    1 backer

    • HAND BOUND SALT PRINT BOOK! You will receive the project goal, a hand bound salt print book of native plants from across the U.S. Over a dozen salt prints will be included in the book. Also includes an over-sized single 14" x 20" salt print of a native plant, custom box of 1/2 dozen 6" x 6" salt prints, 8" x 10" cyanotype print, 9 photo postcards, cyanotype postcard and website thank you!

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)