LUXLIT WEEKLY FEATURED ARTIST
An interplay of gazes. Everything is seductive about the photography of Tanya Dakin. Her work unites sensuality, glamour and colour to immerse us in a play of exchanged gazes. Eyes that provoke us, caress or complicate us are wrapped up in lush colour without falling into excess. The direct framing of each photo shackles the gaze of the observer. As we unravel the layers further we notice masterful use of light, velvety colour and gazes she knows how to extract from her models, uniting it all to offer us images as seductive as they are addictive. The same concept applies to her black and whites, elegant and balanced, but even that emphasizes the sensuality of the image or enhances the gaze from the model. In any case her very personal way of tackling portraits is innovative and captivating. Often portrait photography tends to be static as it tries to show the person. However here we find that the original use of the glamour and fashion style within her portraits gives them a force of provocative seduction that attracts and seduces the viewer. If you want to enjoy this sensory experience we recommend that you let her seduce you by visiting her blog - http://sheshootstoo.tumblr.com
42, Boston native, I now reside in Philadelphia for the 2nd half of my life. I come from an eclectic and mixed in ethnicity family. A latchkey city kid. I started out doing bedroom fashion show self-portraits when I was 14. Eventually I would make up my family members and friends and take their pictures and drop them off at the 24 hour Fotomat booth. My first camera was a Ricoh 35 MM point and shoot, first SLR, Sears brand K1000 35 MM. After 2001 I retaught myself darkroom and photography, set up my own darkroom in my laundry room, refurbished with all the essentials, 2nd hand equipment from Ebay sellers. By 2002 I started to model for other photographers, I took what they taught me in style and technique and used that as a launch pad to dive back into my own photography with friends, models and freelance clients. I enjoy the styling and the post production side the most in my own photography projects, I am more production driven with an image than the actual execution of the capture. Humans and pets are not my only still capture love, I also have a passion for macro food photography; it’s my agenda to make food look sexy and desirable. Though I am constantly capturing life through a camera, I think it’s truly important to put it down at times and just enjoy life as it happens in the moment.
1.- QUESTION: What subjects do you like to shoot?
Tanya Dakin response: I prefer to shoot fashion erotica and Portraits of pets and children, I like mixing sexuality and fashion, Like Helmut Newton meets Ralph Lauren, I want the viewer to be attracted to my subject for their beauty, emotion and elements of fashion. I also like the challenge of shooting domestic animals and children in their safe environments when they are just being themselves, mischievous, coy, playful and sometimes guarded.
2.- Q: Colour or B/W and why?
R: I actually use black and white mostly when my subjects are in action or in the middle of a moment, and colour when composed. I love shooting colour, because I actually pre meditate and approach most of my work in colour combinations. Colour and light are my first instincts when approaching my shot. I want to convey a mood with my colour and my post production of tones.
3.- Q: Your inspiration is?
R: Of course all the greats, Newton, Avedon, Mann, Arbus Von Unwerth and Mapplethorpe. But mostly now I am driven by my peers, the people that I have modeled for inspire me, and I take a little piece of them with me and hope that I make them proud when I note that they inspired the direction or style I am currently working in. Chip Willis, Kristen Wrzesniewski, Aeric Meredith-Goujon.
4.- Q: Tell us a little bit about your creative process?
R: There are times when I wing it, and have faith that I will always get something great and there are times when I am very methodical about my styling which I do myself, location and post production, which is a huge part of my work. I like to go against the grain often when I shoot a model, and give them something that their book lacks, show them in a light that no one else has yet to portray, I want people to take notice of familiar faces put in opposite situations that they would expect, I also like to add humor and an underlying message or storyline, androgyny is also a favorite theme of mine.
5.- Q: What gear do you use, and what’s your preferred equipment?
R: Amongst lots of gear, The current setup is, Fuji X Pro 1, canon rebel T1i, and for special subjects Bronica Zenza. I prefer my Fuji, for the manual controls and light weight and spectacular image quality, It’s just fun to use, and I don’t feel like I am babysitting a bulky DSLR.
6.- Q: How do you develop your photos (digital/film/software used)?
R: I have a background in darkroom, but now for space and time, I use a local photo lab to develop and scan my film, I use an Ipad to edit images for selection, and PS for levels and skin work, I also use a web based software for toning and other hand painted details that I rarely discuss, since I am using a consumer ready software for pro needs, It’s kind of my secret, and I am often questioned about it.
7.- Q: What would you like to transmit with your photos?
R: I am most certainly not saving lives, but I would like for people to be proud of how I portray them, and feel flattered by the results, a simple self-esteem boost for another feels awesome, it’s not a feeling you can bottle and buy, so to me it’s priceless to me. For the families and pets I shoot, just lovely memories that are frame-able, I love going into a client’s home for the 2nd time and seeing my work on the walls.
8.- Q: Tell us an anecdote or a ‘secret’ regarding your photos?
R: Once I was given the opportunity to shoot a band named Slipknot, from the photo pit, I showed up with my photo pass and my favorite Fuji point and shoot, and every event photographer in the pit pretty much laughed at me as they were holding their giant zoom lenses, but I got amazing images with just the macro setting alone, I have no shame when I want the shot, and I rarely let others opinions sway me.
Many thanks Tanya for your collaboration and wonderful work that we enjoy in your blog.
Tanya Dakin PHOTO SELECTION FEATURED in our SUPPLEMENTAL POST find it here…
Lux Lit Featured Artists Team.