Laara Cerman’s work explores the intersection of art, science, and history through investigating patches of wildness that survive within suburban and urban landscapes. Her explorations continue into the forests of British Columbia where she aims to teach herself how to see the diversity of the forest floor in the midst of an era where this knowledge has lost its priority but not its importance. With an ongoing practice of collecting wild plant specimens, Laara is creating a digital herbarium documenting the life cycle of plants while learning about different aspects and uses of flora growing in Canada’s most biodiverse province. Through learning about the role of plants in the ecosystem and the gifts they offer us, one becomes more conscious of the mutual connections of life and the importance of reciprocity between humans and the Earth.
Laara creates her photographs by capturing multiple digital images and then pieces them together in post-production, a skill she has mastered through working as a freelance retoucher in the commercial photography industry. Currently, she creates her digital images using a regular, flatbed, office scanner rather than a sophisticated camera. Paradoxically, the crude scanner produces images that appear hyper-real in part due to their macro and larger-than-life clarity that emphasizes extreme detail one would normally have difficulty seeing with the naked eye. The images have an extremely narrow depth of field and low luminosity, an effect that cannot be achieved through studio lighting or with a camera. This makes the subject appear floating in a black void of space, creating a feeling akin to a memento mori.
She is currently focused on documenting the wild plants of British Columbia for one of her more recent series Codex Pacificus.