Alex Benedict

fine art prints • photography


Ocotillo Signalmen


This body of work is a meditation on the tension between the one-directional flow of time and earthly cycles of rebirth and renewal. As earth makes its annual tour around the sun, water ebbs and flows in seasonal cycles, concentrating and redistributing the sun’s power into interstices of soil and rock where light does not reach. In many places the effects are gradual, but I have been most intrigued by deserts, where life, when it responds to opportunity, does so decisively. Here the focus is on one defining event: the flow of water. Even in the harsh hot deserts of the American Southwest, atmospheric rivers of moisture will at times descend, and the response of living things is immediate, explosive, exuberant, and colorful.


The prints in this series were inspired by camping in California’s Anza Borrego State Park in March of 2017. There I experienced one of the desert’s infrequent yet spectacular Super Blooms. Ocotillo is in the vanguard of this astonishing reawakening. After an extended dry period, this graceful shrub appears to be little more than a tall fan of spiny grayish sticks bending to the dust-filled wind. Yet days after rain, green leaves sprout among the spines, and new stems form and grow. If it is not still winter, and if there has been enough rain, bright red flowers form and open, waving like flags high in the wind as if celebrating the joy of being alive. Soon enough the leaves dry and fall, to prevent complete desiccation of the ocotillo’s roots. And the cycle begins again.


      Alex Benedict

July 7, 2017

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