CNN Photos

A curious, anxious obsession

Alisa Resnik, 37, has been working in German bars and restaurants for decades. She’s also been shooting photographs since age 10.

Late at night, when Resnik’s work is done, those two worlds collide as she captures images focused on Berlin’s quiet hangouts, out-of-the-way cafes and old hotels.

“I don't want to tell you that I'm an obsessed photographer,” Resnik said. “I’m obsessed about life and about people.”

The result: “One Another,” Resnik’s first book of photographs, described as reflections of “loneliness, restlessness … and the tenderness of fragile human beings.”

Resnik clearly loves her art. She guards it carefully with her silence — an unwillingness to reveal details surrounding her photographs.

“I want people to make their own interpretations,” she explained. “I’m afraid I will damage my work if I tell you all my stories.” Many of her photographs expose private moments she feels compelled to protect. “It's not about anecdotes."

But when prodded, Resnik opens up a little. One image shows a trio of friends outside a ladies’ room.

"I really like the feeling,” Resnik said about the photo. “It's a very drunk night, as you can see. They are just people in the bar, and it looks like they're relaxed, at least for this moment. There's something very beautiful about it — and very light."

Another fascinating image shows a seated, semi-nude woman wearing boots and an animal skin. Sorry, Resnik won’t offer any details.

Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Resnik cut her teeth as a shutterbug child with an inexpensive 35 mm Smena. Through the years, she passively fed her passion for photography, researching at museum exhibits and archives. It wasn’t until six years ago, after graduating to Canon and Nikon cameras, that she finally decided to begin showing her work.

What drives her art? "I'm curious … and I'm very anxious at the same time,” Resnik said. “I think it's a great combination for a photographer."

But a word of warning: don’t call Resnik a “photographer.” She doesn’t go for labels.

As she explains it, she just happens to be carrying a camera. A tool. She feels like the equipment is a part of her. “It's like my third leg or something.”

Photographer? “I just don't like the word,” she said. “I don't want this title — this name. … I prefer to be just a person with some different tools and possibilities."

- Thom Patterson, CNN