I am an abstract photographer who uses fallen leaves to explore ideas of change and transformation. My art isn't about the leaves — 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.

This is where my art begins.
My art begins from the very familiar — fallen leaves, broken sticks, melting ice, weathered bark, and old shells.

exploration

I make my art from the fallen leaves I find around my suburban home. Whenever I am outside, I constantly stop to examine the leaves, twigs and seeds I find in my path. I found many of my favorites while simply waiting for the kids' school bus or walking the dog.

inspiration

Over the years, I've learned what to look for. I am not looking for picture-perfect leaves, but ones with some age and character. I drop most leaves quickly back to the ground, but some are worth more thought. I'll walk with them for a while, twirling them in my fingers (to the embarrassment of my kids) as I try to glimpse their potential. A rare few make it all the way back home.

observation

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 hold of my interest so much that I can't put it down, I begin to work with it.

Daniel Sroka at work in his studio

creation

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. I feel more like a sculptor than a photographer, using my camera to work the raw materials into abstractions of shape, color, and dimension.

completion

I work until I no longer see just a leaf, but see something compelling and filled with meaning. I can actually feel this change happen, when the leaf suddenly becomes something new. Everyone sees something different in my art, and I love how people create their own interpretations, and their own stories.