Exhibition: August 19 – October 8, 2017
Reception on Saturday, August 26, 4-6pm

The Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to present the exhibition To Capture A Shadow by Carla Shapiro. This newest body of work represents an intuitive reimagining of moments and experiences through a subtractive and additive process. Shapiro’s process includes a reworking of the original photographic image in many layers of manipulation: in camera as she photographs, through scratching the film, by printing the images in platinum palladium, by sanding down the prints themselves and, finally, by reconceptualizing the images in digital format, then carefully reprinting them on delicate Japanese bamboo papers. Each step of 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.


“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”  ― Kahlil Gibran

I initiated this body of work in response to personal loss. In silence and solitude, I began photographing the trees around me, their beauty a balm for my sorrow. Trees captured 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.

In the studio, I started scratching the negatives and prints with sandpaper, rubbing the surface of the negative and the print as an act of destruction and an attempt to obliterate my deepest emotions. Ironically, the damage I inflicted went beyond temperamental catharsis; it transformed into illumination in the print and darkness from the negative.

The original images are printed in platinum/palladium, a 19th century technique where the emulsion is absorbed into the fiber of the paper during the printing process. These original prints are 8 inches square printed on Kozo, a Japanese paper made from the bark of a mulberry tree. During the sanding process of the print the fibers of the paper are rubbed off or lifted, generating 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, creating a re-rendered version of the previous photograph. The trees themselves, their grandeur, their uncertain survival, combined with my commitment to my work, will guide my journey to capture a shadow.

— Carla Shapiro


Carla Shapiro has been a visual artist working in photography for over 25 years. She has created bodies of work about women, aging, longing, 9/11, beauty and decay. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, and she has received many awards including the Fellowship Fund from the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Golden Light Award at Maine Photographic Workshops, New Jersey Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the O’Conner Foundation. Carla holds a BFA from Syracuse University. She currently teaches at Pratt Institute and resides in upstate New York.

The exhibition To Capture A Shadow by Carla Shapiro will be on view in juxtaposition with The Dresden Project by Fredrik Marsh. Both exhibitions may be viewed from Saturday, August 19 through Sunday, October 8, 2017. CPW galleries are free & open to the public Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm and by appointment. Please note that special hours apply during the holidays. CPW is located at 59 Tinker Street, Woodstock, New York 12498.

Banner image above: Carla Shapiro, An Unfinished Poem, 2017 (detail)
(images in slide show are seen uncropped)