Darkly Beautiful Photos of the Invasive Kudzu Plant

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The narrative we hear most about nature these days is that we pose an existential threat to it — decades of global warming, deforestation, pollution, and constant damage have left our environment in a fragile, vulnerable state. In this light, it’s easy to forget that for most of human history, nature has posed an existential threat to us.

The untamed environment is beautiful, but not necessarily benevolent, and it’s this sense of quiet, creeping menace that’s captured by Swedish photographer Helene Schmitz‘s series The Kudzu Project. According to Feature Shoot, where we first saw these pictures, the titular plant is an invasive species introduced to America in 1876. Like many introduced flora and fauna, the kudzu ran riot in America, especially in the south, and Schmitz’s beautiful, large format black-and-white images examine it as it chokes and consumes obstacles both natural and man-made. The images are as compellingly beautiful as they are sinister — check out more of Schmitz’s work at her website.

Photo credit: Helene Schmitz

Photo credit: Helene Schmitz

Photo credit: Helene Schmitz

Photo credit: Helene Schmitz

Photo credit: Helene Schmitz

Photo credit: Helene Schmitz