Nature - NOMINEE: Carla Shapiro
To Capture a Shadow
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In silence and solitude, I began photographing the trees around me, their beauty a balm for stillness.
Trees capture my interest for their individuality, their fortitude, their gifts of fruit and flowers. I spend time listening to the wind and watching the changing light.
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
― Kahlil Gibran
In the studio, I started scratching the negatives and prints with sandpaper, chafing the surface of the negative and the print. Ironically, the damage I inflicted went beyond temperamental catharsis; it transformed into illumination.
The original images are printed in platinum/palladium, a 19th century technique. These prints are 8 inches’ square printed on Kozo, a Japanese paper made from the bark of a mulberry tree. During the sanding process the fibers of the paper are rubbed off or lifted, creating a three-dimensional effect. I scan these prints and make larger inkjet versions printed on a Japanese paper made from bamboo. The old and new are now merged together, resulting in a new version of the previous photograph.
Hannah Fraiser from The Center of Photograph at Woodstock writes:
The Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to present the exhibition To Capture a Shadow by Carla Shapiro. This newest body of work represent an intuitive reimagining of moments and experiences through a subtractive and additive process. Shapiro’s work process includes a reworking of the original photographic image in many layers of manipulation — in camera as she photographs, through scratching the film, reworking as platinum palladium prints, sanded down of the image and most recently in the exploration of these prints in digital format and the careful reprinting on delicate Japanese bamboo papers. Each step in her process takes her further from the precision of an in-camera image and deeper into an emotional or even spiritual realm of existence. Appropriated from her own images, her digital prints represent fragmented impressions that run from raw to pensive, apprehensive or sullen to hopeful and inquisitive. CPW is proud to debut this important work.
I am passionate about this new direction in my work. The trees themselves, their grandeur, their uncertain survival, combined with my commitment to my work, will guide my journey to capture a shadow.
Over the last 25 years, I have photographed many subjects that reveal and juxtapose beauty and decay. The themes I’ve chosen to embody these subjects differ, but are linked by their inherent curiosity, mystery and wonder.
Shapiro is a visual artist working in photography. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally.
She has received many awards including The Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Golden Light Awards at Maine Photographic Workshops, New Jersey Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, (2 times), and The O’Conner Foundation. Carla has attended many artists’ colonies including The MacDowell Colony (6 times) and Yaddo
Carla was born in Manhattan. She holds a BFA from Syracuse University. She currently teaches graduate school at Pratt Institute and resides in upstate New York.