Edward James was an English eccentric, poet, and surrealist collector who on inheriting a fortune from his railroad and mining mogul father fled England to grow orchids in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains of the Mexican Jungle in the 50s. In the early 60s a freak snowstorm [described by the locals as “white ashes”] destroyed his orchadian nursery.
Following this, James dedicated the following 20 years to creating a series of concrete sculptures inspired by the surrealist artists work that he had previously collected, set within his rainforest estate of Las Pozas.
“I have seen such beauty as one man has seldom seen.”_James Edwards
These sculptures included totem poles, hidden rooms, towers, and staircases to nowhere which were often deliberately left unfinished like ruins amongst the trees
After James’s death, in 1984, the ruinous effect took hold, as lack of funding meant cultivated plants died, and the animals in the menagerie had to be released as the sculptures soon became engulfed by the surrounding rainforest.
In 2007, the estate was acquired by a charitable foundation who set to restoring Edward’s sculptures.
Photographer Tim Walker and Tilda Swinton -herself no stranger to surrealism [see 1992’s ‘Orlando’ or any of the work between Swinton and her late friend Derek Jarman]- set out to explore James’ restored jungle estate and those surrealist muses which inspired it’s creation, in [my emaciated opinion] the most incredible editorial I myself can recall seeing in W Magazine, for their May 2013 Issue:
“I hadn’t realized…how incredibly ambitious it had been of James to create another world somewhere so remote…where nature can be so destructive. It’s the power of the dreamer.”_Photographer, Tim Walker
Follow the jump to explore the remainder of their fantastical collaborative mountainous concrete [within] jungle editorial.