A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Carolyn Monastra’s earliest work with photography involved taking pictures of people on the street and imagining their stories. This attraction to story and image fueled her education: she received a BA in English Literature from Fordham University and an MFA in photography from The Yale School of Art. For the past fifteen years her work has focused on creating and discovering mystery in the natural world. Artist residencies at The Djerassi Foundation, Blue Mountain Center, and the Saltonstall Foundation have given her inspirational environments in which to create her work.
After photographing icebergs during a 2009 residency at the Skaftfell Visual Arts Center in Iceland, Carolyn conceived the idea for The Witness Tree, to chronicle what she sees as the most important story unfolding across our planet – a project to honor and preserve places and people affected by climate change. Since 2010, she has traveled to over 19 U.S. states, 18 countries and every continent researching and photographing for this series. In 2012, she was selected by The Climate Reality Project to become one of their Climate Leaders. Carolyn’s awards include a production grant from the Puffin Foundation, a multi-media fellowship from BRIC, and a travel grant from the English Speaking Union. In addition to being in private collections in the United States, Australia and England, her work is also part of the Marguiles Collection in Miami and has been exhibited in venues across the U.S., and in China, Northern Ireland, Switzerland and England. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.