Nov 02, 2016
Dee is a Scottish photographer and artist currently based in the North West of England who after studying fine arts and working as a model, started taking pictures as a therapeutic way to better know herself. Her work is mainly composed by intimate and vibrant portraits that are sensual, intriguing and delicate as well. Inspired by personal events and depicting a soft and pastel palette, Dee’s images are like mirrors that allow us to discover our desires and inner emotions through them.
Following we want to present a short interview that we had with her:
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
De - My name is Dee, more commonly known under my photography name of ‘elegia’. I’m from Scotland but I’ve been living in Manchester in the North West of England for almost three years. I studied fine art back in the late nineties, but I’d pretty much stopped painting or doing anything much creative when I finished studying because I struggled with what I was trying to say through my painting. It wasn’t until I started photography in late 2011 that I felt like I’d found the medium where I had a coherent voice. I didn’t study photography, I’m completely self-taught. I’ve been working as a photographer for the last three years and it’s pretty much why I moved to England - to do what I love for a living.
am - How did you start in photography?
De - I got into photography via modelling in 2011. I started out by taking photographs of myself at home with the goal of making myself more comfortable in front of the camera, which would obviously help with my modelling. I found the process so therapeutic and exciting, that I instantly fell in love with it and soon I was shooting other models too. I quit modelling three years ago because photography was more important to me. These days the bulk of my work is self-portraiture, but I do work with my friend a lot who has become a muse of sorts.
am - What inspires your work?
De - I’m inspired by many, many things. Films and music of course, but I think most artists true inspirations are environmental; in that they draw from what is around them at the time and what is going on in their life. I feel that that’s very true for me. I use things very personal to me such as my childhood, and with my self-portraiture I sometimes focus on disorders that I’ve struggled with like body dysmorphia and OCD. When I first started taking self-portraits there was a lot of self-loathing involved and I hated the resulting images. These days I feel that my self-portraits are full of more hope and happiness. I think my work is colourful and vibrant, as opposed to grim. I’m a very happy person and I like to think that that comes across in my work even when I’m trying to convey something intensely personal. Photography has given me an outlet and way to express myself, and it’s very much a happy occupation. It’s also taught me to be a little kinder to myself.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
De - My favourite photographers are Nobuyoshi Araki and Guy Bourdin. Araki I love, because he’s consistently creative throughout a variety of mediums and he’s a cat lover! The best artists have cats. I love Bourdin’s use of colour and eccentricity. As a film photographer I have so much awe and admiration for Ellen Rogers’ work, which is full of beauty and emotion. I’ve been obsessed with Van Gogh’s work since I was a little girl, because of his erratic nature and passion. I also love contemporary artists like Grayson Perry, Marina Abramovic and David Hockney.
am - How would you describe your photographs in 3 words?
De - The three words that I would use to describe my photographs are intense, colourful, intimate.
am - If you could travel and stay in a place for one year, where would you choose to go?
De - I’ve always wanted to visit New York but maybe a year there would be too long! So purely for the cultural and photographic possibilities I would go to Tokyo and hopefully create enough work in a year to make a book from it.
am - Favourite songs / bands at the moment?
De - I’m a huge Bob Dylan fan, so I have his music on most days when I’m at home working.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
De - I couldn’t pick just one film as my favourite film, that’s too hard! But I will pick one of my favourites that I recently re-watched over the Halloween period - Suspiria. It’s a visual masterpiece.
am - What are you reading at the moment?
De - I’m re-reading the Lemony Snicket books at the moment.