ARTIST STATEMENT: Between 2007-2009, I created a series of graphic and colorful photomontages and an audio composition entitled “Seldom Seen” depicting the endangered and threatened species of Costa Rica and the causes of their endangerment. In the summer of 2007, I went to Costa Rica for three weeks and became enchanted with the lush forests, diverse animals, unusual plants and breathtaking marine habitats. While in Costa Rica I learned about the various threats to the animal and plant species. Costa Rica is a country of amazing biodiversity and yet it is very small, only about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire put together. The government set aside 27% of the country as national parks, wildlife refuges and indigenous persons’ land. However many amazing species are still endangered due to a variety of factors such as logging, development and agricultural impacts.
Through this body of work, I hope to raise appreciation of the fantastic biodiversity of the ecosystems and awareness about the impacts of individual choices on species and ecosystems. My aim is for the juxtaposed imagery to be compelling in its content while the audio helps to evoke the awe-inspiring experience of being in these diverse ecosystems. Both the images and the audio ask the viewer to think about the human impacts on the ecosystems, since the images contain references to the causes of species endangerment and the audio composition ends with the sounds of chainsaws in the forest and a single tree crashing to the forest floor. The audio can be heard for “Seldom Seen” under my links, also available on my website.
When I was in Costa Rica, I used a large format camera to capture the lush details of the landscapes and small format camera to photograph the animals. I also made over 100 short recordings of sounds in the rainforests. Inspired by what I had learned about the threats to various species, I conducted research after my journey and used this research to inform my choices of what imagery to assemble together to create each artwork.
Blue Morpho Butterfly 2009 Digital Photomontage This butterfly is severely threatened throughout its range due to deforestation of tropical forests and habitat fragmentation.
Dutchman's Pipe 2009 Digital Photomontage This is the largest flower in Costa Rica. While this flower species is not threatened, many splendid flowers are highly local and can be wiped out by deforestation in the tropics.
Goliath Grouper 2009 Digital Photomontage This critically endangered animal is native to tropical and subtropical waters of the Americas. It is legally protected in the USA and Brazil from harvesting, but not in the other countries in its ran
The Great Macaws 2009 Digital Photomontage This image features the Green Macaw, an endangered species, and the Scarlet Macaw, classified as declining but not yet threatened. These species are impacted by habitat loss and fragmentation.
The Green Sea Turtle 2009 Digital Photomontage This species is endangered due to overexploitation of eggs and adult females at nesting beaches, juveniles and adults in foraging areas and mortality related to fishing accidents and habitat degredati
Jaguar and Baird's Tapir 2009 Digital Photomontage This predator and prey are both rare to see. The Jaguar is near threatened status and the Tapir is endangered. Habitat loss affect both species but the Tapir is also under pressure from hunting by peo
Mono Titi 2009 Digital Photomontage This diminutive primate species lives only in fragmented low lying costal forests in Costa Rica and Panama. It is vulnerable due to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by costal development.
Nude Indian Medicine Tree 2009 Digital Photomontage This tree has long been used by the indigenous people of Costa Rica for curing stomach ailments. One quarter of Western medicines used today are derived from plants yet less than one percent of tropic
Resplendent Quetzal 2009 Digital Photomontage This is the national bird of Costa Rica and it is classified as near threatened due to widespread deforestation.
Two-toed Sloth 2009 Digital Photomontage This much loved species is under careful watch but considered as a species of least concern regarding population decline.