Experimental Film From New York's Catskill Mountains
Ethereal and conceptual images created with a range of analog techniques over a 12 month period spent exploring the wilderness just hours north of NYC
Rollei35, OlympusXA, Nikon Nikkormat, Nikonos, Nikon F100
Kodak UltraMax 400, Fuji Superia 400, Lomochrome
Just over a year ago some life shifts led to an opportunity and decision to begin splitting time between city and country, offering an opportunity to balance the accumulation of urban noise that's built up after years spent living in New York City. In previous years I’ve become very familiar with some ponds, creeks, and primitive camping zones just a couple hours north of the city in the Catskills, but never imagined a consistent immersion into one certain area—a fact that made the new living situation all the more attractive.
To provide a summary of the past twelve months or so, I would have to include words such as exhilaration, sustainability, uncertainty, and circumstance. To start, I explored with family and friends, away from WiFi and other such amenities common and standard when living in Brooklyn. As winter settled in my trips to and time in the South Catskills were spent in and around a small cabin, partnered only with an incredible K-9, and focused on performing minor renovations, clearing land, and building small structures.
With some downtime during the daylight hours, I found myself back in the wild forest preserve or wandering a large private forest I've been given access to. Mostly hiking, foraging wild mushrooms, and searching out new watering holes in different creek sections. As night fell, I sometimes lit up the wilderness with multiple, portable, continual light units, attempting to create abstract, experimental film photographs. The forest had been coming alive in the evenings, from owls hooting back and forth, to packs of coyotes gathering and yapping off in the distance. Newer to me, this set an odd, surreal feeling that accompanied me into many nights and encouraged further artistic exploration.
It's spring time right now as I write this, and we are hoping for more. I want to go back up into the dead end, a fabled old abandoned ghost village. Or to the secret wreckage up in the hills. Or promised to me, the secret secret swimming hole. These are some places I want to go, yet the above image selection offers some places I have been.
Time slows down when out of the city. On and off, I'm in a state of awe.