"Cache" by Dana Stirling

Apr 27, 2017

Dana is a young Israeli photographer who works around the ideas of memory and family identity. With minimal and meditative images, the series “Cache” is for Dana a catalyst that helps her to unveil her past and resolve her own identity. Outdoor details, home scenes and family pictures are effectively combined in this beautiful piece of work in order to re-create a family story, maintaining always a pensive and quiet mood which in turn invites us to reflect about our own stories.


Following we want to present an interview that we had with Dana:


am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?

DS - I was born  and raised in Israel. I grew up in a city called Maal’e Adumim which is in the Judaean Desert on the way down to the Dead Sea. My parents are both from London and they made aliyah back in 1988. I served in the Israeli IDF for two years as a soldier tour guide in a nature reserve called ‘Neot Kedumim’ that focuses on the connection between the Jewish heritage and the Bible to the Israeli nature as part of my education youth corp. In 2009 I started my BA at Hadassah College Jerusalem where I studied Photography. I moved to New York in 2013 after my husband Yoav moved here to achieve his MFA. I graduated from the MFA Program at the School of Visual Arts, Photo, Video and Related Media in the summer of 2016. I’ve been in New York ever since :-)


am - How did you start in photography?

DS- In high school my Dad got a small pocket digital camera. I started playing around with it. I started taking the camera everywhere I went, and always took photos of my friends. At the end of High school I decided that after my Army service I would study photography- and so I did. Only a few months after my service ended, while many of my friends went and traveled the world, I jumped in to college to start learning more about photography. I had no technical knowledge, I didn’t know anything about camera’s let alone analog cameras, and I was terrified to start school. I remember sitting, still back in the Army, on my bed with Yoav while he was trying to teach me what is depth of field using random objects. School is really where I learned that photography was my real passion in life.


am - What inspires your work?

DS - A lot of my work deals with my own family and family identity in general, so I can say that in some way my family was a big inspiration for me. When I was younger I always thought I would be a writer, but to be honest I really could not write anything good or interesting, and I basically had no talent for it. But I always felt that I was a creative person with no real outlet. I was feeling very depressed in high school, and I couldn’t find my voice in anything I did. Photography was the first time I was able to create a picture that conveyed my feelings without saying them to anyone. This let me to still life photography, as I was able to ‘talk’ through these objects, even if in many cased people around me, or even my own family couldn’t read them.


am - What is “Cache” about?

DS - As I mentioned above, my family is originally from London. I grew up speaking English at home and Hebrew at school and with my Friends. I always felt weird about having English speaking parents, and I used to be teased about it by other kids. I started to feel ashamed that I was not ‘Israeli’ enough, that my family doesn’t eat the same types of food, that we don’t have traditions that many had around me. This feeling left me feeling very confused about who I was in this place. I never felt British because it was not my home, but in my home I felt like an outsider many times.

After looking at some of our family albums, which my Mother cherishes and keeps safe, I realized that I do not know many of my family members. I was looking at these photos and once again I felt alone and disconnected. The faces in these photos were random and meant nothing as I had no memories or connection to any of them.

Cache is about my search of self identity. I chin together my own photography alongside images from my family’s archive.

The statement that represents this project was the definition of its title – cache memory. The decision to name the book and present it through this definition is handed down as recognition of what is hidden in photographs, coded and read through context; that photographs can unfold memories but not necessarily the same ones that were originally embedded in them. I’m researching a history that I don’t see as actually mine.


am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?

DS - My all time favorite is Takashi Yasumura. I say his name every time I am asked this question. He was a big inspiration for me when I just moved to color film and photographing my home. His body of work “Domestic Scandals” embodied everything I wanted to be as a photographer. His style and sensitivity of color and still life helped me understand what I was missing in my photography. He is a true inspiration for me, and will always be my favorite artist.


am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go?

DS - My dream is to go to Stirling Scotland and create a project there. Although my family is not from Stirling, my last name is, and I find that to be fascinating. My dream is to visit Stirling, live there and try and create a personal family history/narrative through strangers.


am - What’s your favourite movie?

DS- Well to be honest, anything Disney, and the Lion King is probably the top one. I grew up watching the tapes over and over again with my Mother and they were my favorite as a kid.


am - What is your favourite photo book?

DS - Domestic Scandals :)


am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.

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