Phil Ingamells has sent in the this photo and text for the Fobif turns 25 exhibition. New contributions from Janet Barker, Christine Henderson, Damian Kelly, and Philip and Judy Hopley, can be found here.
There are so many ways to see the natural world: as a complex web of interdependence; as a tough dog-eat-dog world of competitiveness; as a fragile, broken system now in need of rescue. All of these, and more, are valid views.
But for my pleasure, I can’t help seeing the natural world as something that outperforms the finest of our designers, architects, engineers and decorators. Evolution has produced a myriad of lifeforms that, at close scrutiny, startle us with their subtlety, their grandeur, their efficiency of design and their downright stunning beauty.
We can track the refinement of individual species through zillions of modifications over millennia, through the rough and tumble of survival, or we might see the trace of some guiding cosmic hand. Whatever remarkable path we might attribute nature’s evolution to, it has produced a glorious heritage, worthy of the utmost respect from us as individuals, from our land managers, and from those who govern us.
Its protection should be ‘core business’ for any responsible society, yet recent generations have put unprecedented pressure on what remains of that heritage.
We too are a product of that journey, part of evolution’s family, but we are a long way from ensuring that the family will survive.