Tuesday, September 16, 2003

  Earlier this week, as well as today, wood s lot featured the topic of rock balancing as a form of art and therapy. Coincidentally, last Sunday, Thirteen.org ran Living Edens: The Lost World, an exquisitely filmed and narrated account of a trek to the summit of Mt. Roraima and the history of Venezuela's Canaima National Park region. Inspiration for Conan Doyle's "The Lost World", home to the globe's highest waterfall and to multitudes of species of vegetation and animal life seldom found elsewhere, this locale, situated on the border of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana, offers many amazements. But it is the collection of rock formations atop Mt. Roraima, licked by wind, water, and other erosive forces, and shaped into unbelievable anthropomorphic sculptures, that fascinate me most, from afar.

from "Living Edens: The Lost World" photo essay

The vicinity of Mt. Roraima is remote, rugged, and still seen only by handfuls of visitors. Although there are many advantages to prolonging the relative wilderness status of the area, in-depth information and quality imagery of Roraima and other tepuis are lacking, at least on the web. Here is what I have been able to dig up.

"Mist, Rock Formations, Plants of Roraima", Ed Darack.

Although the explorer and photographer Ed Darack has been to Mt. Roraima, the smattering of his photos on the subject is faint in comparison to the sights he captured in other regions.

The writer, producer, cinematographer and narrator of PBS' special on the "Lost World", Adrian Warren, has the most extensive collection of Roraima images online. His aerial photographs are the more impressive of the bunch, while most others are relatively bleak, having been taken in unfavorable, mid-afternoon light.

Photo by Adrian Warren. Photo by Adrian Warren.

Several expeditions and touring companies that have traveled to Mt. Roraima and offer opportunities for future excursions contain descriptions, maps, and photos of the famous wonders. A few other compilations and individual images are available. Some are of desperately low reproduction quality but any fish is good if it's on the hook. The web stroll can be rounded off with additional glimpses of creatures and plants that live on the slopes and summit of Roraima.

And for another angle on adoration and emulation of rocks and stones, consider Vija Celmins' "To Fix the Image in Memory" series, which consists of "11 bronze casts of stones which have been meticulously painted to imitate the originals. When the real rocks are exhibited alongside the fictive ones, it is impossible to tell them apart." (*)

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