Dara Scully. 1989. Spain.
photographer, writer, tree.
There’s a bird in my left lung, small and fragile,
and he always speaks to me about beautiful
things. I try to translate all these things to my
pictures, his voice, mine.
– taken from info on cargocollective.com/darascully
Dara Scully is a 24 year old photographer, but she insists that her inner child is 7.
Dara currently lives in Madrid, Spain, but she explains that she’s from the deepest of the forest, and her work only grows up in the wild. She studied Fine arts in post-secondary but she is a self-taught fine art photographer.
Please join us in this sweet and simple interview, where Dara takes us through a journey with her beautifully made conceptual photographs, which have a great sense of underlying story and narrative. Dara’s photography is incredibly unique, and creates a beautiful visual tension for the viewer. Her work has been recognized by many in the form of exhibitions, magazine features, and interviews. Additionally, not only is Dara a visual artist, but she is also a writer, and the Editor of tus ramas/mis huesos, Cuaderno de Vuelo, and December Birds.
Note: NSFW Content Below
What inspires you?
Beauty talks to me all the time. A flock of small birds, the fog over the field… all these small things touch me, wake up my voice.
What’s on your gear list? (Film, Digital, Software etc)
My Nikon D60, a Zenit B, a beautiful Polaroid, Photoshop and a bird in my left lung.
In your work do you work primarily with film or digital? Or would you say it is a mixture of both?
I work primarily with digital, but I dream in film, so you can find both in my photographs.
I noticed that in some of your older works, Photoshop or post-processing seems to be a prominent element in the work. For example in “Blue Birds Heart” and “Exposed to the ghosts”. I was wondering, how important would you consider Photoshop and/or Post-processing to be in your works?
Photoshop is just a tool, in a kind of way. There’s a world in my head, sometimes I need a lot of Photoshop to create it, and sometimes I don’t.
Do you normally sketch or write about your work before shooting?
I usually sketch my ideas in a tiny notebook, I take notes… but they’re a secret!
Animals appear in your work often. I was wondering, what animal do you feel you personally relates to the most? And why do you think you choose to include animals within your works?
Sometimes I feel like a fragile, elusive deer. Almost a fawn.
All my work is about animals. We’re animals too. The young woman, the boy, the birds… all of them are the same breed, they’re deeply connected.
When your not shooting and creating beautiful photography, what do you tend to do in your free time?
I spend a lot of time in my own world. There’s a tree house, a lot of books and a big cup of tea.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve ever taken?
My favourite photograph…
There’s two, a diptych: The beasts are sleeping and suddenly one of them starts to wake up.
Let’s talk about your series sleeping beasts which features two young models. The description is as follows:
Sleeping Beasts explores the children’s world, that special and disturbing world, in which innocence and desire, cruelty and tenderness, are so close.
What inspired this beautiful project? What compelled you to create this stunning set of imagery?
I’m obsessed with childhood, with that wonderful and dark universe. When adults talk about children, they usually say purity and innocence. But… Is it real? Are children pure? Are they innocent? In Sleeping Beasts I tried to find my own answers to these questions.
sleeping beasts is listed as a “project in progress” on your website. How soon should we expect to see some more works from this series?
Children come back in the summer, I hope.
And finally, how did you find the differences of working with child models opposed to adult models? Did you find that children were generally easier to work with, or harder to work with?
When you work with children, you have to play all the time. And it’s hard, but it’s instructive too. You learn a lot.
What are you currently working on?
I’m into the woods now, with my beautiful girls. I can’t tell you more.
Birds, either dead or alive, frequently make an appearance within your works. What might these birds represent or symbolize?
My dear birds… they’re everything.
Fragility, freedom, vulnerability, the cage as a jail… I could tell all of my tales with birds. All my creatures keep a bird inside, in their stomach or their heart, all of them can represent a bird attribute.
Or maybe I just love birds.
What do you seek to accomplish with the photography that you create?
I usually understand my work like a book of poems, like a visual notebook about all my past lives. I was the young woman, I lived her love story with the ancient tree… I think that, at the end, my photographs are memories. I never lived them, but they exist.
What would you consider to be your proudest moment as a photographer?
Proud… I don’t know if I can use that word, but I feel something really strong when someone connects with my pictures, when they send me an email and share with me their feelings.
Who would you consider to be some of your favourite photographers/and or artists, or some of your greatest influences to be?
I love the world of Sally Mann, Masao Yamamoto, Margaret M. de Lange, Jock Sturges, Ingar Krauss, Ata Kandó…
Where would you like to see yourself and your photography go within the next 5-10 years?
I’d like to tell stories all my life but… Who knows? Maybe the future surprises me.
Interviewed By: Angela Butler, thanks for reading!