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Beth Moon
United States

Island of the Dragon's Blood

Beth Moon© Beth Moon

There are few places left on earth so remote and untouched by time. Socotra is one of the world’s last truly wild places with a uniquely diverse and enchanting landscape of surreal beauty. Rich in mythical history, Herodotus wrote of the immortal phoenix that came to this island to be reborn in a nest of cinnabar and incense every 1,000 years. Frankincense that burned in the temples of ancient Greece and Egypt was harvested from this island. Glimpsing the dragon’s blood trees that mantle the Haghier Mountains, one imagines this is what the world must have looked like millions of years ago.

Most astonishing are the trees! Living up to 500 years, the mythical dragon’s blood tree with vertical trunk and arching canopy could easily be imagined as an umbrella blown inside out. When the trunk is cut, a scarlet colored resin oozes from the tree prized for its celebrated medicinal qualities. Sap from the tree was sought by Roman Gladiators to cure wounds. Once a vast forest, these remaining trees, unique to Socotra are now classified as endangered. Recent years have shown a troubling decline due to over grazing and insufficient cloud cover needed for young saplings.

I believe it is through the unique vegetation that the spirit of Socotra is defined, with mythical trees like the dragon’s blood tree or the fabled frankincense trees and the island’s culture so closely linked to nature which sets this island apart from the rest of the world.


About Beth Moon

American born, Beth Moon has gained international recognition for her large-scale, richly toned platinum photographs. Since 1999, her work has appeared in more than 60 one-person and group exhibitions in the United States, Italy, England, France, Israel, Brazil, Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia, and has received critical acclaim in numerous national and international fine art publications. Her prints are held in private and public collections such as The Museum of Fine Art Houston, The Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego and the Fox Talbot Museum in the United Kingdom. In 2013, the first monograph of Moon's work was published by Charta Art Books in Italy. In 2014, Abbeville published Ancient Trees: Portraits of time, and in 2015, La Langue Verte will be released from Galerie Vevais in Germany. She studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin before moving to England, where she experimented with alternative processes and learned to print with platinum. She currently lives with her family in New York


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The VASA Front Page Project
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