Kissimmee Billy Strand


April 22 is Earth Day, an internationally-recognized annual event that began in 1970.

I was invited by the U.S. National Park Service to spend a month at Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve as its Artist-in-Residence. While there, I created a series of photographs to artistically document the invasive species issue that is plaguing the environment there. This included both plant and animal invasives that brought me into close contact with noxious plants like the Brazilian Pepper and deadly snakes like the Burmese Python.

To better illustrate the delicate landscape needing protection from these invasives, I also photographed some of the visually unusual areas around Big Cypress. The preserve is a huge swamp that feeds into the Everglades. So, despite their different names and locations, Big Cypress and the Everglades are one giant ecosystem. What affects one will impact the other and vice versa.

One of the most intriguingly beautiful sights is the Kissimmee Billy Strand in Big Cypress. A strand is essentially a swamp forest of hardwood trees. It is one of the most unique plant communities in the preserve.

My photograph’s compressed view of the strand flattens the landscape into both an abstraction and a study in line, color, and shape. Like some of the other photographs I am offering this month as a White Glove print, the digital negative of this image remained untouched and unseen in my archive until now.

Click here to get a signed print of this and other photographs.

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Published by Xiomáro

Nationally exhibited artist, photographer, speaker, teacher, and curator. Author of "Weir Farm National Historic Site" (Arcadia Publishing).

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