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Dasha Pears
Dasha Pears
Dasha Pears

Dasha Pears

Country: Russia
Birth: 1982

Dasha Pears is an award-winning Russian conceptual photographer, currently based in Helsinki, Finland. Dasha uses the instruments of surrealism, color, and photography to speak about deepest psychological matters, including emotions, states of mind and mind shifts.

She started her photographic path in 2011, after reaching burnout in a marketing communications career. Having tried many types of photography, Dasha found herself in the conceptual and fine art sphere. Since then her images have been exhibited in Russia, France, Poland, Austria, Italy and Finland. Dasha's photographs can be found on covers of books published in Europe, the United States and South America.

In 2016 Dasha started sharing her experience of organizing conceptual photography shoots and producing surrealist artworks in the form of creative photography workshops. Since then she has held over 15 events in Finland and abroad.

Statement
Photography turned out to be a way of discovering my true self and expressing it. My works are a reflection of this discovery process and I hope that they can help others who are on the same journey as me. In metaphorical ways I try to show and share processes that are going on in many people's minds: dealing with negative self-talk, being overwhelmed by all kinds of emotions, finding that activity that puts you in the state of flow, when time ceases to exist.

My photography is influenced by classical fine art, surrealism, as well as fantasy and science fiction books. The instruments of surrealism help me show that the scene is only partially real and that most of it is going on in the character's mind. My works are carefully composed and many of them are leaning towards minimalism. This is my way of expressing that controlling your mind and creating space is crucial for discovering who you are and who you are not.
 

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Debbie Miracolo
United States
1953
Debbie Miracolo is a photo-based artist interested in transition and passage of time. A former graphic designer with a fine art education, she creates inventive images with a sharp attention to detail and composition, often with a generous sprinkling of emotion and whimsy. She attributes her outlook to memories of an introverted childhood infused with make-believe worlds and storybooks. By transforming rather than documenting truth, her interpretations of humanity, nature, and train travel serve as seductive invitations to linger, question, and weave a story of one's own. Growing up as an only child in a home with her European parents and grandmother made her childhood reality different from that of her friends. She was introverted, shy, and intimidated by the world around her, but found that creating art alleviated some of the loneliness she felt and helped her to express her feelings. By the time she finished high school she had become skilled at drawing and painting. At Rochester Institute of Technology she earned a BFA, studying printmaking, photography, and art history, and later moved to New York City to pursue her artistic dreams. There she began a 15-year career as a graphic designer in the busy publishing and advertising industries. With the birth of her two sons and subsequent move to a Victorian house in a suburban New York town, she shifted all of her energy, diving into motherhood, and for several years the creative spirit within her lay patiently dormant. As most artists know however, that spirit never truly leaves, and as her children approached adolescence she could sense it regaining strength. Feeling drawn to photography once again, Debbie made the decision to revisit the medium as an art form. She began taking classes and workshops at the International Center of Photography, gaining mastery of the craft and honing her own personal vision. From there, there was no turning back, and she has been making and focusing on her art ever since. Debbie's work has been published, notably on the cover of Geo Wissen Magazine and most recently, in F-Stop Magazine. Her images have been exhibited in a number of galleries in New York City, Boston, St. Petersburg, Fl. and Middlebury, Vt. as well as online media. Imagined Moments from the Porch It was a bewildering, absurd world I found myself in during the first chaotic months of the Covid-19 outbreak. Through incongruous juxtapositions, metaphor and a bit of whimsy, these photo composites of my neighbors portray the surreal, confused and off-kilter feeling I had then, and which still lingers today. With many of us sheltering in place, pedestrian traffic had increased remarkably in my quiet town. People paraded by on the street, some of whom I'd never seen before; young and old, parents with children, and more and more dogs as the weeks went by. I began to photograph what I observed from the steps of my front porch and, over a period of four spring and summer months, the project evolved. The idea to reconstruct the photographs came to me when I needed to switch out a person, and with that one manipulation it became clear that I would take the series in a more imaginative direction. As the virus numbers increased and the news became more alarming by the day, I digitally rearranged my characters in more unlikely ways. It was as if my wish to change reality and my doubts about what to believe were coming through in my images. Imagined Moments from the Porch is a kind of theatrical narrative made up of fictional scenes I compose to depict my off-beat version of these dark, confusing, and upside-down days.
Margarita Mavromichalis
Margarita Mavromichalis comes from a family of Greek diplomats and has spent her life living and traveling all over the world. She speaks five languages and studied translation and interpreting. She likes to think that photography is her second language, as it's a universal language, one that is understood by all across the world and conveys messages in the most powerful way. Margarita moved to New York in 2009. She continued her studies for three years at the International Center of Photography where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for several classes. She moved back to Greece from 2013 to 2016 where she devoted most of her work covering the refugee crisis as it developed on the island of Lesvos. She currently lives and works in London. Margarita is mostly attracted to street photography and the elements that evoke emotions and surprise in our every day life. Furthermore she is passionate about documenting current events that she feels very strongly about, highlighting their social impact. Her work has been displayed in exhibitions in New York, Boston, San Diego, The Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Historical Society and most recently in Budapest, Athens, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and London. Selected images are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and the Brooklyn Historical Society. She is the winner of the 9th Pollux Awards (2016) and the winner of the 12th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards (2018) and has been nominated for the 2019 Prix Pictet Hope Award.
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Thomas Barbèy
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Thomas Barbey grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, across the street from the “Caran D'ache” factory, the largest manufacturer of art supplies. He started drawing seriously at the age of 13, using black “encre de Chine” and gouaches for color. His influences were Philippe Druillet, Roger Dean and H.R. Giger. After living in Geneva for 17 years and designing posters for musical bands, he decided to move to Italy, where he lived in Milan for 15 years making a living as a successful recording artist, lyricist and fashion photographer. Today, he resides in Las Vegas and travels the world, taking his camera wherever he goes. Thomas has been a photographer for over twenty years now and prefers to use his old Canon AE1s when he shoots in 35mm or his RB67 when he shoots in medium format. More recently, he has been doing Black and White Photomontages for the sole purpose of doing Fine Art, without working for a specific client. He has combined several images taken over a period of twenty years to create surreal situations with the help of the enlarger in a dark room. His work has a specific style and is very characteristic. He only works with Black and White, including Sepia toning at times. Every single one of his images has to pass what he likes to call the “So what?” test. If a combination of two or more negatives put together doesn't touch him or have any particular meaning, he starts over. At times, he tries to combine images and sometimes the results can be disappointing. A giant clock in the middle of the ocean can be an unusual image, but if he looks at it and says to himself, “So what?”, this means it isn't good enough.” If, instead, an ocean liner is going down a “funnel-type” hole and he titles it “Shortcut to China”, it takes on a whole new meaning. The picture takes you into an imaginary world where you can see the captain telling the passengers to fasten their safety belts and get prepared for the descent, and so on. At times Thomas comes up with ideas beforehand, try to materialize them and it works. At other times, it comes as an accident, where the ideas come afterwards, when the image is already finished and the concept has yet to be understood. Thomas claims he is learning constantly through the process of creation. Thomas travels 2-3 times a year to take photographs of different things and places. Sometimes he uses an image several years later, but only when it fits, like the perfect piece in a puzzle, and completes his latest project. Some images are composed of negatives that are separated by a decade in the actual time that he has taken them and only come to life when they found their perfect match. It's the combination of two or more negatives that give birth to a completely unusual vision, but most of all, the title he gives the final image is the glue and the substance of the piece. Source: thomasbarbey.com
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