Daniel Kukla’s photographs reflect on desert life

“Edge effect” is an ecological term that describes the juxtaposition of two contrasting environments. It’s also the name that Brooklyn based photographer Daniel Kukla has given his series of photographs taken in Joshua Tree National Park. Kukla, 28-years old with a background in biology, lived alone in the park in a cabin for a month. Armed with a camera, an easel, and a mirror, he set out to capture the ecology in the desert of southern California. “The whole area has a really surreal feel to it. At first glance the desert looks completely barren but once you get closer, you realize it’s incredibly diverse,” he says.
If you’re a regular visitor here, you know that we like clever ideas with low-tech execution. Even with his simple trickery, Kukla’s mirror-on-an-easel photographs had us a fooled for a moment – or at least mystified. The elegant, reflection-free effect keeps us moving from one to the next, curious to see what is revealed in each mirror. The mirrors behave like tattle tales, reporting to us the world that’s going on outside the frame of the camera.

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