www.danielsroka.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / v/f 815-301-8836 / 26 blackberry lane, morristown, nj 07960
“Nature” is such a big and abstract concept, it can be hard to grasp on a personal level. We often think of it as scenery, something pretty but far away and unimportant to our everyday lives. But when I look down at my feet and pick up a small leaf that has fallen there, nature no longer feels distant or separate — it becomes tangible and real. By trying to understand this individual leaf held in my hands, I experience nature on a personal and more human scale.
Whenever I walk through my neighborhood in Northern New Jersey, I habitually collect the delicate fragments of nature I find in my path — the leaves, sticks, flowers, or seeds that have fallen to the ground, often overlooked and ignored. Back in my studio, I spend days, or even weeks, carefully exploring the unique character and personality of each leaf or seed. It is a slow, careful process of perception, evaluation, and experimentation. By working with abstraction, texture, and form, I create photographs that reveal the complexity buried within in the simplest parts of nature.
Most of my inspiration comes while walking through my neighborhood. My favorite time is right after a storm has blown through, scattering leaves and seeds everywhere. I aways have my eyes open for the overlooked details of nature -- fallen and wind-swept leaves, pine cones that have begun to decay, or flowers pushing through the cracks in the sidewalk.
As I walk, I'll stop and pick up any leaves, sticks and seeds that catch my eye. I carefully examine each fragile piece of nature, holding it to the light and looking for its hidden character or personality. Most get dropped back to the ground, but once and a while, one will reveal something unique. I save these, and bring them home to my studio.
My studio is filled with leaves, bark, and seeds, covering tables and stashed into boxes. I carefully explore each one with my camera. Sometimes the perfect photograph is obvious, but most of the time it is a long, slow journey, where I create hundreds of photographs that experiment with the visual building blocks of line, form, color, texture, and space.
I am searching for that one photograph that is the perfect expression of the leaf's personality, that spark I first noticed on my walk. When I find it, I then continue to work with that photograph, spending days or weeks gently coaxing it into the final work of art. I use no special digital effects in my artwork — my photographs capture what I composed through the lens of the camera.