Photographer Krista Steinke spends her summers at Purgatory Road, a wooden region of rural New York that is divided by an infamous dirt-covered path. On one side of the road is a cavernous slope that is ominous, damp, and bug infested. On the opposite side lies a lush, peaceful forest. The intersection of this unusual landscape sets the tone for her series, also titled Purgatory Road. Here, she uses her camera to explore a metaphoric state of “in-between”.
The series is a combination of scenes shot on location, and still life’s of specimen collected on her walks through the woods. Her photos have a strong sense of place and capture the natural cycle of growth and decay. “I am especially interested in the quiet moments that seem to hover between fragility and regeneration, where life feels suspended and uncertainty reigns,” she says.
She has carefully honed her technique of shooting through sheets of plexiglass filters which have been weathered by natural elements. They are rained on, bleached by the sun, and often become embedded with bugs, leaves, spider webs and dirt. In a way, the plexiglass acts as both her subject and collaborator. By distorting the realism of the camera’s gaze, perception itself can easily slip from one side of the “road” to the other.
All images © Krista Steinke