A magical series captures the gnarled branches of Socotra’s dragon blood trees


# Trees

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Daniel Kordan, shared with permission

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan (before) is adept at locating extraordinary environments around the world – he’s captured it this dazzling series from Japan’s firefly mating season a few months ago – and his recent trip to the Socotra Archipelago is equally enchanting. The remote island lies between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea and is populated by dragon blood trees, an evergreen species with upturned branches that spread outward to form a bristle canopy.

Kordan’s photographs, taken at dawn, at the golden hour, and under a star-lit sky, frame this unique growth pattern that reveals the gnarled underbelly of the trees. Combined with the deep red sap that oozes from its trunk, this otherworldly trait connects the species to local lore. “According to legend, the first dragon blood tree was made from the blood of a dragon that was wounded in a fight with an elephant,” says the photographer.

Kordan details the techniques and equipment he used in Socotra An entry about his travels, which you can follow Instagram. He also has dozens of photographs of the white sand deserts and life on the Yemeni island as prints in his shop.

# Trees

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