|Author/Contributor(s):||Del Curto, Mario|
In a former tsarist palace in what is now St. Petersburg, botanist Nikolaï Vavilov (1887-1943), predicting the disappearance of plant biodiversity, built the world's first seed bank. A living museum, the Vavilov Institute hosts roughly 330,000 specimens and stands as a monument to its creator--a scientist who devoted his life to food security and died of starvation, a political scapegoat in the basement of a Soviet prison. One hundred years after Vavilov's first specimen-collecting expedition, Swiss photographer Mario Del Curto (born 1955) retraces the botanist's steps and meets the people who continue his work, seeking, selecting and preserving the planet's plant species. Part meditation on the scope of Vavilov's work and part travelogue into the heart of the Vavilov Institute and its 12 satellite stations, Seeds of the Earth is a beautiful and urgent meditation on food security, ecology and history.