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I'm researching, working with biologists, and traveling all over the world to find & photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old or older
I'm researching, working with biologists, and traveling all over the world to find & photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old or older
205 backers pledged $11,893 to help bring this project to life.

Oldest Living book launch & big news!


Dear #OLTW Backers,

It is with surpassing joy that I share with you the launch of my book, The Oldest Living Things in the World with forewords by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Carl Zimmer! Just 10 short years after my visit to Jomon Sugi, the ancient cedar in Japan, and 4 years after my Kickstarter campaign, the book officially launches Earth Day, April 22nd, 2014.

It is also my great pleasure to share that I have selected as a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, as well as a recipient of the LACMA Art + Technology Lab grant, where I will pursue a new project investigating perception of deep time and deep space in conjunction with NASA JPL and SpaceX. 

If you are in NYC, please join me for the book launch event at the SVA Theater, tomorrow, Monday April 14th, where I'll be in conversation with Maria Popova, aka Brainpicker, with a signing to follow! Events in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are also happening in the coming months. Check the calendar for more information.

The book is already shipping from Amazon, or find and support a local bookseller that carries it on Indybound. If you're the collecting type, a limited, custom collectors box with a signed print and book, all numbered, is available in an edition of 150. Use code "KICKSTART14" for $100 off, valid through May 31st.

Thank you again for all your support! Every single one of you helped make this project possible!

- Rachel

Antarctica print sale on + First site-specific OLTW show

Dear OLTW backers,

2012 is already shaping up to be a great year for the Oldest Living Things, and I wanted to share some of the milestones with you. My expedition to Antarctica marked the end of 'phase 1' of my field work. I still have to pinch myself to believe I made it! And I've just launched my first site-specific installation, combining a timeline with my images directly onto the gallery walls at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.

If you didn't catch the New York Times LENS blog coverage of the Oldest Living Things, as well as my writings and photos from the field in Antarctica, you can still check 'em out here.


And now through 11am on April 19th, is hosting a special 5-day sale of my work. It features a number of my images from Antarctica (including those that ran in the NYTimes), as well as some one-of-a-kind artist proofs and a very few Oldest Living Things. Prints are up to 50% off, and your purchases directly help support my work. Win, win!

Below I leave you with an installation view of my exhibition that opened last night: a timeline spirals from floor to ceiling, spanning 500,000 years into the past, all the way through 500,000 years into our unknown future...

Thanks as always for your support. I couldn't have done it without you.

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OLTW, One year later

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Dear OLTW supporters,

It's been just over a year since the OLTW Kickstarter campaign came to a close. The Oldest Living Things might hardly have noticed the year click by, but I sure did. So much has happened, and I couldn't have done it without your support. You helped me photograph 100,000-year-old sea grass in the Balearic Islands, the world's oldest Chestnut tree in Sicily, and a 3000-year-old + Olive tree in Crete. You helped purchase film and photo paper, underwater housing for my camera, all with enough left over for an in-flight meal on my way to Riverside, CA for the 13,000-year-old clonal scrub oak.

Posidonia Oceania Sea Grass #0910-P1000753 (100,000 years old; Balearic Islands, Spain) [13x19", edition of 10]

What else is going on? I've exhibited at the Hannover Kunstverein, Montalvo Arts Center, Berlin Botanical Museum, and my first US art museum: the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Our Origins exhibition. OLTW has appeared in the pages of O Magazine, and the World Future Council has invited me to present to the UN Forum on Forests and Biological Diversity to encourage further protections of long-lived organisms. Now we're talkin'.

(View my TED talk here, or on

All of this momentum started with you. And there's a lot more in the works:

On August 1st I head to Sri Lanka for an ancient banyan fig, made possible by a grant from eco-adventurer David de Rothschild and his non-profit organization, Sculpt the Future. And you heard it here first: Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic Explorer invited me on an expedition to Antarctica this winter, so that I may finally try to find the 5,500-year-old moss banks living on an island off the Antarctic Peninsula. Wow.

One other major expedition this fall is still in need of support: a 4-pronged trip spanning mainland Australia and the wilds of Tasmania. If you or someone you know is in a position to help, please consider making a fully tax-deductible contribution via my fiscal sponsor, the Brooklyn Arts Council. Just be sure to mention "Rachel Sussman" in the "Designate your donation" field.

I want to thank each of you again for your support, great or small, in whatever form it's taken. I wouldn't be here without you. Big publishing plans are being hatched as we speak, along with some opportunities exclusive to you, my Kickstarter backers. If you haven't done so already, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter and blog for more updates, or drop me a line.

My sincerest thanks,


Thank You page live // TED // Staying in touch


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Dear Wonderful Backers...I'm on cloud 9 right now:

I was just asked to speak at TEDGlobal next month in Oxford. I'm beyond humbled and honored. I'm going to start rehearsing right now.

What else? An article came out on my work today on The Wall Street Journal site and can be found in print tomorrow in the New York section of the paper:

And if that wasn't enough? I could not be more thrilled about meeting my Kickstarter goal. I am so touched by the support you have all shown -- it means the world (or, um, the oldest living things in the world) to me!

If you know any stragglers that had been planning to donate please do give them a final nugde: It would be great to bring the final number up as high as possible before the campaign shuts down in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

I cannot THANK YOU enough for helping me get here.

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