" Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power; contemplation of its magnificence imparts peace and serenity. "
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Around the year 400 BC boats of Polynesians arrived to the shores of a small Island, distanced some 3200 kilometers to the west from South America. This Island, measuring 166 square kilometers is today known as the Easter Island.
One thousand six hundred years ago Polynesians, who stepped out of the boat, saw a green forest full of life. There was many valuable species of trees such as palms, which were perfect material for building boats and houses. The soil was rich, forest was inhabited by birds, some trees were 25 tall and their trunks 2 meters in diameter. Settlers brought with them chicken, started planting bananas, taro, sweet potatoes and sugarcane. They hunted for dolphins and seals. Life, which they led was affluent and their population grew as much as seven, or as some sources state 20 thousand people. Demand for timber has risen also and surpassed the natural capability of the local trees reproduction . Erection of monuments, for which the Easter Island is well known required large quantities of timber to move them around and to build simple machinery. Biggest of them weigh in excess of 80 tons. Years of forest cutting to build housing, making ropes, cooking and also eating of trees seeds, through rats - brought by the settlers - has led to to complete deforesting of the island. Bird nesting grounds were destroyed and excessive hunting has led to complete extinction of the local bird species.
Around the year 1400 AD the last palm tree was cut down and rats brought by the settlers did not allow for the trees to regrow by eating their nuts. When the palms were gone, people could not build any more boats to hunt dolphins nor could they relocate to other islands. Firewood resources have shrunk, streams began to dry out and the soil started to erode and became infertile. When on the 5th April 1722 dutch explorer Jacob Roggveen reached the shores of the Easter Island, he saw a land covered with grass, without a single tree or any bush higher than 3 meters. The once blooming culture has deteriorated and population has declined by 75 - 90% to 2000 inhabitants living in poverty and hunger.
Nature gives people all the necessary means for their lives to flourish: food, water, clean air and resources. Forests and wetlands filter and cleanse the waters, give oxygen, and medication. It is in the best interest of Humans to care for the best functioning of ecosystems in which they live.
Text by Jan Berdo
My responsibility as an artist is to capture these remarkable natural places and record them as photographs. Not in single shot images, but on a carefully prepared and planned compositions, with wide panoramic views. Only then could these vistas be displayed in a form of large format prints, to bring the Viewer closer to Nature .. and Nature closer to Humans.