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Agave in Turmoil-1

Agave in Turmoil-1

I began my agave work in Mexico four years ago. I grew to respect these giant plants as rugged individuals that do not let anyone closer to their heart than a few feet without encountering their painful barbs. I wondered how these solitary plants survive their harsh dry desert domains. To imagine how they do it, I imbued the agaves with senses, enabling them to observe their environment and to record on their surfaces evidence of their own visual experience. Initially, I discovered peaceful visions of grand nocturnal landscapes, with mountain peaks and starry skies (Agave Night Visions). But a year passed and I was finding that the agaves reflected the stress they were experiencing due to climate change that had scarred them and hastened their decay (Agave Climate Change). The series this year was shot while a pandemic gained everyone’s attention even in the mountains of Mexico. The sharp barbs now enforced “social distancing”. But looking into their depths, I found that the agaves were updating the recordings of their surroundings. Now I was seeing tumultuous landscapes brought on by the pandemic and its effect on the world. As I shot on a daily basis, there was a feeling that my perceptions were quickly evolving like I imagine those of a wartime photographer covering unfolding events. The background and motivation for my story was changing rapidly. By the time of my last shoot the day before we left Mexico, I felt like I was fleeing the agaves, as each of us sought refuge at home. How is it possible that within a few years, my perceptions of these plants have changed so drastically? Can it be that the world is changing that rapidly?