ian sample: Sussman has only two criteria that organisms must meet before they become one of her prized subjects. They must be more than 2,000 years old (an arbitrary figure, she says) and the organism must have lived continuously for the period. So far she has photographed more than 20 life forms, from shrubs and predatory fungi to Siberian bacteria and domed corals that look like giant brains.
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.