Experimental contemporary photographer Cynthia Karalla shot these wonderful photos last winter in Central Park. Influenced by Eugene Atget (1857-1927) and his photos of the trees around Versailles and Saint Cloud, Karalla like Atget, pays homage to the tree and its heroic position living within a man-made world. But she is also inspired by the moody renderings of “Gotham” by Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962) that reveal life in a gothic soul-less city.
Experimental photography can be, at its most basic, about grabbing a camera and experimenting by shooting everything you see. And while this is close to what it means, if we think of it in that way, we miss a deeper meaning. You see, experimental photography is not so much about what or how you frame the subject or what camera and lens you use, but it’s more about the state of mind of the photographer.
And it’s not about whether the artist is happy or sad; mad or excited. It’s about first, unedited photo shooting – no notion of what you want to achieve, no filters, no preconceptions – and secondly, about evaluating the results (not the other way around).
“There are no failures” in experimental photography Cynthia told me one time, “… you learn along the way and there’s nothing to lose. Finding something is the reward and there’s never any loss”. Case in point, after 6 years of photographing the same tree in the park, it was only recently that she got something she could actually embrace. It wasn’t the tree that changed, but it was everything around it (including her) that finally let her see and represent the tree in its proper relation to its surroundings. Patience really is a virtue!
image credits: © Cynthia Karalla, New York
For a different view on Karalla’s work, click here.
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