This body of work is a modern interpretation of the millennia-old art of botanical image making. My focus are the wild plants, both native and naturalized, of my home British Columbia. Often, there is rich Indigenous culture associated with native plants, though much of this knowledge is unfortunately unknown to many people living here. My deepest respect and appreciation goes to the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest for their knowledge of harvesting, preparing, and using indigenous plants since time immemorial. It is not my intention to appropriate the knowledge given to us by the First Peoples but rather to pay tribute to its richness and importance.
As medicine became available in concentrated pill form and food easily accessible through grocery stores rather than directly through forest and farm, our reliance on wild plants as medicine and as food has faded and thus our knowledge of local plants has degraded. In an age where one is increasingly bombarded with media, one is more capable of identifying different brands than being able to recognize local trees, plants and wildflowers. These hyper-detailed, macro photographs of common British Columbia wild weed and flora are my attempt to reconcile my disconnect from the natural world around me and to learn about the environment that I live in.
Codex Pacificus originally started as simple scans meant to be kept as a record for plant identification similar to herbariums of pressed plants kept by scientific institutions around the world. It has since grown into documenting the life cycle of wild plants. Time is an important aspect to the work as the images must be captured quickly (before the plants wilt) yet are slow to create, often taking weeks to months to gather the plant in the entirety of it’s life cycle.
I find these plants in unrecognized and under utilized spaces and I return throughout the year. These spaces become lush with diverse flora which are great habitats for bees, birds, and butterflies. Frequently these areas full of wild plants are mown down essentially destroying much needed ecosystems for pollinators and are thus replaced with a homogeneous, green, manicured lawn devoid of diversity.
This is an ongoing series, one I hope will never be complete.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided is accurate to the best of my knowledge and is intended as general information only. DO NOT consume plant matter unless verified as safe by a professional.