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Located in the lush Pacific Northwest near the cities of Vancouver and Seattle, Salt Spring Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands stationed between mainland Canada and Vancouver Island in an area known for frequent rain and moisture called the “rainforest of British Columbia.”

In such a consistently damp environment, lichen, fern and moss grow quickly over anything stationary. And precisely because it is an island, decades ago the citizens of Salt Spring would simply abandon their broken automobiles to decay in the woods rather than paying to have them hauled back to the mainland for proper disposal. As a result, the island became littered with ancient, rusting cars and other discarded items like industrial and agricultural machinery.

In 2004, photographer and artist Eric Klemm visited the island and discovered a dozen or so “moss cars” in the forest–decrepit, decades-old vehicles covered in bright emerald sphagnum moss. The resulting set of photos, entitled “Metamorphosis,” is visually striking and proves that junk can gradually transform into objects of beauty if given enough time.

Here is what we know about the Moss Cars of Salt Spring Island:

1. The oldest vehicles captured on film by Klemm are thoroughly buried in the moss, yet they indicate by their silhouettes that they date back to the 1940s and possibly the late 1930s as well.

2. At least one vehicle is clearly a Ford bearing the iconic signature of Henry Ford rendered in chrome on its back end.

3. There is at least one Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the batch. Based on its form, it looks to be from the 1980s.

4. It is difficult to confirm due to the rust, moss and warping of the metal, but the grill design of one of the vehicles in conjunction with the configuration of its headlights indicates the vehicle might be a Nash from the 1940s.

5. Some of the vehicles cannot be properly identified from the images alone because they have been gutted for parts.

If you want to take a stab at identifying the moss cars of Salt Spring Island for yourself, or if you simply want to see some gorgeous photographs of decaying vintage cars, visit the website of the photographer, ericklemm.com.

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