Posted by CHRIS on July 30, 2009 at 03:23 PM
Looking at other people’s pictures can be a very dull affair, even though it should be an experience. Too many self-titled artists seem to be putting chains and a padlock on their craft, it’s safe and it’s standardised where it should be all about expression. Alison Scarpulla’s pictures on the other hand clearly stand out in contemporary photography, a unique and complex portrait of a world that seems to exist parallel to our reality where carefree picnics on a perfect summer day could easily end up in a rendezvous with the grim reaper.
‘I've lived in New York my whole life. When I was 15 I received my first 35mm SLR and entered a photography class in high school, and from then on I would carry my camera around and shoot film wherever I went! In my photography class I started experimenting in the darkroom with double exposures and different developing methods. Everything just came pretty naturally. From then on I've kind of taught myself just through trial and error’.
Did your pictures always have a touch of psych and morbidity or was that something you've developed rather recently?
‘Hmm, I would say always to some extent. I've had my share of psychedelic experiences growing up, ahem, and I'd have to say if anything, probably directly related to those experiences and the world it opened up for me. I didn't really have a choice’.
I absolutely love the colour pictures from your portfolio; I like the grainy and desaturated look. Did you choose that look simply for aesthetic reasons or do they imply a personal trip down memory lane for you?
‘I guess I've always appreciated images with desaturated colours, but the colours and graininess you see in my photos comes from a mix of expired film, drug store processing, and possibly a dirty/wet lens. I really love the colours of film in general, I can never get the same warm/cool feeling or texture from digital images. You could say I'm an avid film lover. It's great to hear you get old memories from them!’
Some of your pictures also remind me of the work of artists like Philip Ridley... there´s something unsettling going on, but you can't really put your finger on it, because it's executed in a very subtle and unique way. I was wondering what artists have influenced you, where do you get your main inspiration from?
‘Most of my inspiration comes from old books, different cultures & traditions, old films, diaries & found writings, taking midnight strolls through the woods, and just the all-round energy of nature. As for photography, The Victorian spiritualism movement and the photos that came out of it really inspire me, and I just can't get enough of photographs from the 1800s - early 1900s...but if I had to mention some artists who inspire me... Arvö Part, Natural Snow Buildings, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Joel Peter Witkin, Adelaide Hanscom Leeson, Maya Deren... to name but a few’.