www.danielsroka.com / email@example.com / v/f 815-301-8836 / 26 blackberry lane, morristown, nj 07960
I create abstract photographs from fallen leaves, ice, shells, and other small details of nature. They are raw material I shape into dreamlike abstractions of depth and texture.
I think of leaves as the haiku of nature: a simple, predictable form that can inspire thoughts of incredible and unexpected depth. I will spend hours, days, or even weeks working with an individual leaf, slowly deciphering the ideas locked within. Even after working with leaves for over 15 years, I love that I have only begun to understand what they can offer.
My art isn't about the leaves themselves — they are the raw material I shape with my camera into dreamlike abstractions of depth and texture. By combining a translucent palette with a precise use of detail, I give my photographs the emotional immediacy of a painting. From something dry, brittle, and faded I create art that is light, fluid, and filled with life.
My art begins from the very familiar — fallen leaves, broken sticks, melting ice, weathered bark, and old shells.
I make my art from the fallen leaves, sticks, and seeds (called "litterfall") that I find everywhere around my suburban home. Whenever I am walking the dog or waiting for the kids' school bus, I am constantly picking up interesting leaves I find in my path.
I am not looking for picture-perfect leaves, but ones with some character. Most leaves I pick up get immediately dropped back down to the ground, but some are worth more thought. I hold on to these as I continue walking, twirling them in my fingers and getting a sense of their personality. A rare few make it all the way back home to my studio.
Back in my studio I keep a constantly changing collection of leaves, stashed in boxes and sorted on tables. I slowly work my way through this collection, taking my time to consider each piece more carefully. I'm looking to see if the potential I originally noticed is still there. Some leaves I save for years before working with them, while others get "recycled" back to the outdoors almost immediately.
When one leaf grabs my interest so much I can't put it down, I begin to photograph it. I'll spend hours, days, or sometimes even months working with a single leaf. I built a custom workspace — part homemade, part recycled, and part high-tech — that combines creative freedom with precise control. This allows me to explore the leaf from every possible perspective, as slowly and carefully as I need.
Like a sculptor unlocking the hidden potential of a stone, I use my camera to shape this raw material into compositions of dimension, texture, and motion. I work until I no longer see just a leaf, but discover something compelling beneath the surface. Everyone sees something different in my art, and I love how people create their own stories from what they see in it.