Brachyglottis Silver Dormouse
The plant shown, Brachyglottis originated in New Zealand, though these leaves were found in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Brachyglottis is evergreen bushy shrub, grows to be about 15 feet high and is unusual in the variation of color in its leaves: The top of each leaf is green, while the underside is nearly white. Once the leaves fall, they become a rich source of nutritious food for bugs, which eat the bottom side of the leaf first and never eat the leaf veins, which are hard and tough.
When I found these leaves in Golden Gate Park, I appreciated the beauty created by the fragile net of veins left by the bugs after their meal. When I look closely at the leaves, it is like looking at a landscape, or a map of a different world.
Observing these leaves, I see the rotations of the natural world: the fight to survive on the one hand, coupled with the decay that represents readiness to return back to the earth from which they originated.
I used 4x5 film, which I over-exposed, and used a high contrast filter to bring out the veins—turning them white from their original brown color—in order to show these details.