The relationship between nature and urban dwelling is a topic explored in the oeuvre of American photographer Colleen Mullins. Her project Elysium explores the urban forest of New Orleans, which lay decimated after the 2005 hurricane Katrina and continued to be exploited by man after.
‘We have a strange relationship with nature as urban dwellers,’ explains Mullins. And we seemingly hold a cultural belief that if it is an Eden we planted, we have eminent domain over the territory it occupies. While sometimes their deformities can be perceived as comical, the impact of this loss will be faced by New Orleans residents returning home for years to come. Absent street signs, and often the houses themselves, these trees are frequently the only signifiers to tell me that I’ve returned to a site to photograph. Imagine if the tree was not a marker for a photograph, but a marker for your home.’
This series of photographs explores these ‘cultivated Edens’, the ever increasing domination of the urban over the rural as forestland appears increasingly in urban settings.
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