From paper birds to fish flying in the sky, flowers floating in the air to a young woman catching clouds. Photographer Dasha Pears' conceptual, whimsical photos, accompanied with thought-provoking symbolism, make you pause for a moment and ponder.
Words: Meri Frig
How would you describe your photography style?
I guess they can be called conceptual portraits, where I combine objective reality (photography usually implies documentary component) with inner dream-like world of my characters (brought by unusual locations, props and post-processing). In other words, in my works I show how the inner world of a character spills out into the outside world. Sometimes this inner world is represented by some artificial creatures (paper birds, giant fish, huge flowers), sometimes by a different person that reflects the opposite side of the character.
You mentioned that Anna Gaskell’s works, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, sparked your interest in photography. Are there books, films, songs, or other art forms that you have found specifically inspirational recently?
I’m a big fan of classical fine art, especially the Dutch art of the Golden Age. As for cinematography, I’ve always loved movies by Wes Anderson. They are somewhat whimsical and extremely visually appealing: every scene is a work of art in terms of colours and composition. I’ve always loved reading as well. I guess, one of the most inspirational books for me was His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
Which of your pictures are your own favourites?
I’ve recently become fond of the idea of showing one person as two. We all experience inner dialogue, talking to ourselves about things that we are going through in life. I decided to start a project which explores interactions of two different sides of the same person. They can be in conflict or in harmony with each other, it’s different in different moments of our lives. So I guess, right now the works that show this duality are my faves at the moment.
"In my works I show how the inner world of a character spills out into the outside world."
You typically photograph women, often in connection with nature. Is there perhaps a specific meaning behind that?
I often get inspired by nature and I think that placing a character in some particular natural setting can reflect her inner world much better than some urban site. However, I can be very picky with my locations, searching for more minimalistic places (like empty beaches), or places with some visual order (symmetry - like alleys of trees). I believe that these elements make my images stronger and more visually pleasing.
"We all experience inner dialogue, talking to ourselves about things that we are going through in life. I decided to start a project which explores interactions of two different sides of the same person."
What is the most important inspirational quote that resonates with your work?
As many creative people, I had to struggle to find my path in life. I guess that’s why I really like this quote by Carlos Castaneda:
“Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use."
I hope it can help those, who are still searching.