Traditionally, nature conservation focuses on the conservation of species and habitats. This time I want to talk about an extinction of a view.
The Purple Iris Reservation of the city of Natalya is a small reservation with a few coastal sand dunes in a center of an expensive real estate area. There are prestigious high rise buildings on its south, other residential buildings behind a road on its east, and an old large dump hill on its north, which is in a tedious long process of evacuation.
Between the reservation and the dump hill there was a pretty hill made of a mixture of eolianite and red loam, with more purple irises on it than in the sandy reservation itself. This area was fenced about 4 y ago. A part of it will become a visitor center, and on its east, a bridge was built to enable a safe passage for pedestrians across the road.
The construction of the bridge instantly eradicated a beautiful view of purple irises in a direct line of sight with sunsets of the Mediterranean Sea. The scenery you see here, from atop of that hill, photographed on spring 2012, does not exist any longer. No iris in the reservation is in line of sight with the sea.
The irises on the hill were the sentinels guarding the northern border of the reservation from above, at night, for many years. They could not save themselves. Today, purple irises have no sentinels to keep them safe. This task is now on us.
This is another view that is becoming extinct. Such a dense vegetation of hilfa grass, lupine, anemones and other plants, found on that hill north of the reservation, cannot be found in the sand dunes of the reservation itself.
On the distant right one can see the dump hill, with a truck on it. Many plastic bags have flown from it and got stuck in the vegetation. All of this area has been fences since 2015, and fenced in the north (on the right to this photograph), marking the border of the dump fill’ are closing in.
During the construction of the bridge, the hilltop turned quickly into a huge pit, inhabiting temporary offices of the bridge constructors. It was surrounded by a tin fence. I used double exposure to include the irises and the nearby tin fence in a single photograph, as a silent protest. They were not meant to be together, side by side.
During the years of the evacuation process of the dump hill, the hill has been swamped by plastic bags carried by the wind, getting stuck in the vegetation. I used a double exposure technique In order to have both the iris and the plastic bag in focus. One of the artistic outcome of this technique is the appearance of ‘Orton Effect’, named after Michael Orton, who used to create it with two exposures made in the darkroom. Apparently, this can be done in camera.
For successive eight years (2011-2018) I went to photograph purple irises in the Purple Iris Reservation. Without knowing what a day will bring, my instincts, as a naturalist, perhaps as a photographer, guided me to photograph mainly on that hill that had been doomed to become extinct. I took more irises photographs on that hill than on the reservation itself. I did not know they would become photographs of an iris view soon to become extinct.