© 2016 Cynthia Karalla
Cynthia Karalla’s Film Noir Summer, 2016
The Ambiguous Road
Between Exterior & Interior Worlds
Shooting in 35mm to echo exterior City/Land – Scapes.
I wanted to repeat the energy of the summer before – biking with tripod, film and no direction. Open road. It is always and only the unknown journey that summons the magic of the day. Out of the 2,000 photos filmed, developed and scanned, I picked 6. The in-between blanks let the viewer’s imagination make their own stories, let their minds wander, as I myself wandered through the ambiguous-scapes.
Interval, the 7th image, is the gateway between exterior and interior roads.
The 120mm square format is the interior of my breath.
A couple of cracked ribs forced me to leave the city — and landscapes — to experiment inside. While doing my breathing exercises I decided to try and capture my breath by doing long shutter exposures (anything from 4 to 10 minutes), playing with the technical opportunities offered by a type of film I was working with for the first time. I used myself and a young friend as the subjects for this twin experiment, and the resultant images — 6 out of some 150 taken — combine in ways that still are not quite clear to me, to create some mysterious, barely stated narrative.
All images used by permission © 2016 Cynthia Karalla
Later, when she saw the images, the musician Marianne Dissard wrote:
Uneasiness. We live in uneasy times and Cynthia Karalla has us nailed. Voilà, she laughs, pointing to her sardonic mise en scène. Her whites heavy as shrouds, her blacks like pits of sorrow, she has conjured a gallery of macabre jokes from the postcard-perfect Italy she inhabits every summer. But don’t expect Karalla to coo at la dolce vita. Her Italy is revealed ostinato through a proprietary alchemism of light and luck, inner lives of restless souls exposed against the public huddles of an eternal city. There we stand, shallow breathers, tumbled inside Karalla’s squares. Nature is no refuge, tamed to our purposes, and no human ceremony, however sacred, will save us from ourselves. If Cynthia Karalla’s photographs make us uncomfortable, it is because she has the elegance and humility to remain without answer to a most fundamental human question: are we happy? I would add, have we gone mad yet?