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California artist Kirk Crippens talks about capturing Big Sur’s year-long isolation

Kirk Crippens

“As I was composing and about to take a photograph, three birds flew through the frame.”

Big Sur, the scenic section of Californian coastline north of LA, is visited by millions of tourists annually. But in 2017, no tourists came following a devastating landslide that cut off the region for a year.

In his new book, Going South: Big Sur, artist and photographer Kirk Crippens details the isolation of this scenic area, which was cut off from the north after one of its main bridges on Highway 1 collapsed.

Thievery in the Redwood Forests of Humboldt County, California

Semper Virens

Coastal Drive, Southwest View

The redwood trees of Northern Pacific Coast are among the oldest living things on earth, with life spans that average 1,200 to 1,800 years. Also known as Sequoia sepmervirens, they include these evergreens include the tallest trees on the planet, reaching up to 379 feet (115.5 meters) in height and 29.2 feet (8.9 meters) in diameter. Simply put, they are majestic beings that have fallen victim to the greed of wo/man.

The First Peoples of American lived in the forest for thousands of years, able to create a symbiotic relationship with the land without destroying it. Their spiritual beliefs, combined with knowledge of the natural world, allowed them to cultivate the resources of the forest and live in harmony with the earth.

All of this changed with the arrival of an imperialist force that traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and took land that did not belong to them. As the descendants of Europe made this country their own, they ravaged the landscape without thought to the consequences of their actions. They began decimating the forests to build homes, tearing down trees with no effort to replace the forests they destroyed.

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