Spurred by the impending completion of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, Dornith Doherty initiated a photo project in 2008 called Archiving Eden. Her images of the Svalbard bunker set off a broader photographic expedition of seed banking that continues today, with some help from a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship. Working with renowned biologists at seed banks around the world, Doherty's work explores the increasingly complex relationship between human agency and the natural environment.
These Archiving Eden images result from Doherty's work with x-ray equipment at two of the world's most comprehensive seed banks: the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Colorado, and the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England. Using this equipment to make x-ray images of research seeds, tissue samples, and cloned plants, Doherty created patterned digital collages that not only depict scientific data, but also raise deeper questions about the global effort to sustain life.
For more, watch Doherty's TEDx Talk about the Archiving Eden project.