Daria Amaranth: Abstract Realities
St. Petersburg based photogrpaher Daria Amaranth, delves into the conceptual beauty that can be captured through the world of fashion photography.
By: STEPHEN FASULO
All images featured have been contributed by: Daria Amaranth Photography
The vision of Amaranth, whose real name is Daria Tureiko, a St. Petersburg native, tends to exaggerate the beauty of a subject into something alien. There exists a sort of conflict in the ideas of the pieces, as typically ‘repulsive’ objects, such as roaches, lizards, and other animals regarded as pests, and uses the beauty of her subjects to show a sort of fragile truth, as what is beautiful is made to shine through. The cool tones and features of the art reverse, and what was once alien then becomes warm. The complexity of the composition makes Amaranth's work truly wonderful, and by getting to know the artist, one can only appreciate the art more. The most interesting aspect of the interview was Amaranth’s revelations about her techniques, and how they influence her style, a style that is truly distinct.
Where are you from?
DARIA AMARANTH: I was born in Arkhangelsk Oblast. Now I live in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Tell me about how you got started in Photography?
It happened about four years ago, when I realized that photography can help me express something from inside in a way that I needed to express. I also wrote short stories and tried singing, but it was photography that became my true passion. Then I started to create staged photographs, being both a photographer and an art director. At that time I created my artist name Daria Amaranth. Daria is my real first name.
How did you get your photography name Daria Amaranth?
My real name is Daria Tureiko. Since it is the name I use in my everyday life, when I started photography I felt that I needed a separate name for my art in order to make a distinction between existing reality and an imaginary one, but at the same time to connect them because they reflect in each other. I took my real first name and added "Amaranth" to it. I came to this word step by step when different things became one: I got interested in the sound of it while reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez where a character called Amaranta appears. I like the interlacing of sounds in this word, it seemed magical to me, also almost similar sounding and writing in all languages was important to me. I also like the color and texture of the plant, the amaranth. Now sometimes, I also use my real name when publishing works, because in my inner philosophy, the sense of the need for verbal separation of imaginary reality from dailyness has changed a little bit, as I began to feel that both names somehow reflect me.
What genre of photography ie. fashion, portrait, street would you say that your work is?
I think that I specialize in conceptual and fine art mostly, with a hint of extravagant fashion. Actually, the genre can be different because the main thing here to me is not the definition, but the picture itself. I like to pay attention to imaginary worlds that I create which visually exist in the reality but at the same time they are located in a kind of other dimension, another sphere of perception without verbal categories to describe them.
What kind of camera do you use?
Very simple, Canon 1000D.
Where do you typically host your shoots? Do you have a studio?
No, I don't have my own studio. I usually host my shoots in different photography studios that can be found in the city. Sometimes, but not so often, I do photoshoots outdoors.
Are you an individual artist or do you work with a team in Russia?
I am an individual artist at the moment because I am a control freak when it comes to my work. But I think that I can be open to collaborations with truly like-minded people.
Have you won any awards in Photography?
In 2016 I took part in portfolio review during the PhotoVogue Festival and I was invited as a participant of the international art exhibition.
Who or what is your muse or inspiration?
I'm inspired by the mysterious, the unknown, something that is difficult to describe with words. I always want to capture that elusive feeling of touching to something immense and, at the same time, deeply personal and from within. I also find my inspiration often in cinematography, painting, music, literature, psychoanalysis, and perfumery. My own inner experiences have influence on all of my works.
Do you prefer working with female or male models?
Female; all the ideas that appear in my head are associated with female or androgynous image.
Why is androgyny an image you are drawn to?
The heroines of my stories are always within a particular space that seems to be unlimited and, at the same time, is in a certain and absolutely concrete place, the exact path to which is impossible to determine. Androgyny is connected, for me, with the image which is outside the categories of time, place, and space; this image belongs to a mysteriousness to me and that is also close to my sense of reality. It also gives me a lot if inspiration that is sometimes difficult to put into a verbal category and describe with words.
If you could work with any model who would it be?
There are a lot of wonderful models, I would like to work with many of them. I recall now Guinevere van Seenus, she is amazing. If we’re not talking about a certain person, I think that it is great to have a soulmate model or actress who understands you almost without words and can be a kind of a true artistic alter ego, a mirror of an artist. I'm convinced that any model an artist chooses to work with is a reflection of her or his world but it is something special when you find a kindred spirit.
What are your goals with your photography?
I would like to see my works in beautiful galleries and museums and to be represented by some of them. If we’re talking about goals as in messages within photographs, it's a difficult question because it's always personal for a viewer. The important thing for me is the emotional aspect, the awareness that a photograph "penetrates" into the person and touches something meaningful and sensitive inside. I'm also always searching for a sense of enfolding mystery, piercing enigmatic excitement in creating art and in the perception of art, that's so important to me.
I noticed that you have used reptiles and insects in many of your shoots? Why?
They are very significant part of a mystery message that is often inside my imagination. Maybe their presence can translate something essential. For me, they are a kind of a link between the present and the invisible, that is, they are a visual representation of what cannot be put into other embodiments, cannot be replaced with other visual symbols.
These images are definitely provocative and can cause a reaction within someone. Was this your goal?
I can't say that it was my goal but I really like to touch something silently painful in my works, to appeal to people’s very deepest feelings.
You have mentioned pain, feelings, and personal experiences. What are some of these experiences and how do you think you have been able to translate them into your work?
Talking about feelings and everything from inside in my works is possibly, for me, the most important thing, but I do not like literal mapping of sensory experiences. That is why surrealism and unreality make much sense to me, those kinds of unreality that actually exists in some kind of interpreted form. Internal moments associated with anxiety, depression, and fears find their embodiment in visual images and stories. It's a more efficient way to make personal and at the same time (maybe) broad emotional stories. I'm an introverted, emotional melancholic; that's why very often visualization of emotions is of great importance to me.
Do you have a “role model” so to speak in the photography world?
I don't have role models but I can say that some of the masters of photography, cinematography, and artists have influenced my art a lot. For example, Francesca Woodman, Paolo Roversi, Diane Arbus, Sarah Moon. I can also name some film directors – David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Sofia Coppola, Peter Weir, David Cronenberg, Maya Deren. Also, surrealism and expressionism movements in painting.