I felt honoured to be asked to model for an interesting project recently that celebrates the soil. I joyfully accepted this photographic opportunity as for once the camera wasn’t aimed at my face, far from it in fact for the photographer wasn’t looking to capture images and expressions of people, he was looking for the story of our hands.
Ciaran Burke, horticulturist and photographer, has recognised that the soil doesn’t discriminate between poverty and wealth, age or experience, religion or race, the soil welcomes and accepts everyone who wants to tend to her. For the past few months Ciaran’s been travelling to far-flung corners of Ireland for his earthTouch project, capturing images of hands that work with this earth and the stories and tales are as varied as they are interesting.
Earth and Soil
I asked our youngest the question recently,
“what does the soil mean to you? What words pop into your mind to describe it?”
“It’s dirty and mucky, brown, wet and cold”, she said, “it’s the place that puddles collect in and a whole bunch of insects live.”
“And what do you think would happen if there was no soil” I asked,
“well there’d be no bees or butterflies as there’d be no flowers, there’d be no trees so no oxygen and then we’d all die”
“…and there’d be no food”, she added, almost as an afterthought, probably because I had a look on my face that was willing her to remember all the veggies growing in our garden.
Just for a moment close your eyes and picture Planet Earth as if you were looking down from space. The globe is covered with oceans and mountains, forests, rivers and deserts. In among that whorl of colour are pockets of land that are farmed. Those patchwork fields that cover the Earth’s crust are covered with just a few feet of fertile soil and to some degree or another, they feed the entire population of our planet.
How precious a resource that we barely give a second thought to.
Next time you glance down at the place where the plants grow, spare a thought for the earth. It’s so much more than the muddy, brown stuff that sticks to our boots. It’s the core of our very being.
Ciaran’s exhibition of hands can be seen alongside his Moments in the Air project at Mount Venus Nursery on the 27th and 28th September 2014. If you can’t make it along to the nursery, you can take a look here at some of the many hands he’s already captured and read their story.