The wild olive has been around for at least 50,000 years. There are olive trees that are so old that all records of their ages are lost. And their colossal size is the only indication of time that has elapsed since the time they were planted.
It is believed that in planting an olive grove man makes the most permanent investment known to the human race; for while cities rise and fall, and empires are dissolved, the olive tree continues to deliver its fruit. What is even more remarkable about this tree is that it will thrive on the most arid, rocky landscape, and even the poorest man on earth can plant and own an olive grove.
While drifting through the Mediterranean coast, I met local olive farmers who told colorful stories and legends about the trees being cultivated in their region. Franciscan monks planted the trees 1200 years ago. Naturally, I was moved and compelled to make “portraits” of these ancient giants.
The olive’s majestic presence seemed to slow down time and obscure space. The trees emerged in the landscape like guardians of dark secrets, or spirits of the long dead, each of them unique, appearing to possess mysteriously beckoning energy. Entombed in their silent posturing and carved into their knotted, complex, disorderly, bone-dry and explosive trunks, is the passage of time through the civilizations of ancient history.
Greek mythology chronicles that Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and peace, struck her spear into the Earth, and it turned into an olive tree, thus, the location where the olive tree appeared and grew was named Athens, in honor of the Goddess, Athena. Therefore, each of the olive trees in this series bares the title of a Greek God, symbolically representing their supremacies.