Rachel Sussman is on a quest to celebrate the resilience of life by identifying and photographing continuous-living organisms that are 2,000 years or older, all around the world.

Why you should listen

For the past five years, Rachel Sussman has traveled around the globe photographing organisms that have lived for more than 2,000 years. From 500,000-year-old actinobacteria in the Siberian permafrost a lone spruce standing on a mostly barren mountain in Sweden, her images capture both the robustness and fragility of life. While these organisms' longevity dwarfs even that of human civilization, they all depend on ecosystems in fine balance -- a balance thrown into question by human encroachment and climate change.

Sussman's work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe in venues including the Museum of Natural History.

What others say

“The collection offers a rare perspective of life on Earth. Some of the organisms Sussman has captured look alien. Many were alive in the bronze age. Others were eking out an existence long before modern humans rose up and migrated out of Africa.” — The Guardian

Rachel Sussman’s TED talk