Portraits full of drama and creativity, authentic beauty, whimsical and romantic atmosphere are a few words to describe Dana Tole’s captivating work. Her photographs are expressing more than fashion; they are enhancing a dream state of mind. Until she will take over the glossy magazines here are a few words about herself, her personality and some exclusive photographs for you all.
1.How did you get into photography?
I guess it started at a very young age since my dad was a photographer and I got to be around cameras very often. I`d say photography invaded my life the minute I looked through a lens. I always felt fascinated by the way you can frame a moment with your eyes and how intense that feels your memory fades away, but a moment captured on camera is frozen in time, is there to stay. I haven’t allowed myself to live this experience of photography at its fullest, that`s why I decided to study law and even worked a bit in the field but it didn`t bring me the joy that I needed. This summer however, I decided to follow my passion and it’s funny, I can clearly see there were signs all along the way, but I was too stubborn and afraid to follow them. I guess now I’m prepared for this journey ☺.
2.Do you think you need a philosophy in order to do a unique work? What’s your philosophy?
I believe that if everyone did the things they love the most and suits them the best, this world would be a much happier place and everything would be easier for everyone. When it comes to photography, it’s kind of hard to photograph something new. In order to do a unique work, firstly you have to stay true to yourself, know where you’re standing, be aware of everything that defines you, every emotion-whether is good or bad- and afterwards let yourself be part of the creation fearlessly. Some people find themselves inspired by other people’s work too, but that’s a very beautiful thing and if they can mix it with the way they perceive those things and add a bit of their own vision in it, it might turn into a wonderful work of art.
3.What do you hope to achieve with your images?
I just hope I’ll always be able to photograph for my soul. If my photos get to touch others too, that would bring a smile upon my face because I was able to share this part of me with them. I would love to make others feel just as alive as I do when I’m creating those photos, I’d love to inspire and encourage others to follow their passion too, regardless of what people might think, regardless of what society wants them to be.
When it comes to the professional area, I would like to be able to photograph fashion editorials and creating beautiful stories around them.
4.Did you had a “learning” period?
Well, when I really felt the urge to try some photography, I went to two workshops with Sorin Onisor which helped me discover better my photocamera, hear somebody else’s opinion regarding my work, but I also learned a lot about the way I truly like to photograph when I got to take some photos of someone with whom I had a strong connection, such as my friend Michelle de Rose, who is also a photographer, or Codruta Teslarasu. I believe in self-learning as well. In the end, you get to understand everything, the technique and composition only if you just go out there and shoot as much as you can. I think I can call this “now” my learning period because I’m focusing on that as much as I can. I end up photographing daily as an exercise of observation and I’m also trying to improve my editing skills. Also, I truly believe that as a photographer you have to explore a lot of the world that’s surrounding you, read, spend time in nature, meet people, understand their emotions, do anything that nourishes your mind and soul because you have to grow as much as you can as a human being in order to be able to take your work to the next level. I hope I’ll never stop learning, this field is so fascinating and I always find something new and challenging.
5.How do you draw out the beauty of a person?
I’m trying to keep that person in her natural state, that’s when real beauty reveals itself. You just have to feel the person who’s standing in front of you. There are girls whom I can photograph more in a fashion way because they like to play around, they are very complex as persons which makes them chameleonic and therefore I can try different angles, poses, expressions, concepts. On the other hand, there are the ones with whom I like to keep it simple and take some photos with raw feelings.
6.How do you come up with the concepts for your visual stories?
It all starts with the person that I’m going to photograph, the way I see them in certain photos that are running through my head, I don’t like the common beauty and I’m always looking for someone who can help me express more through my photos, someone that has an inner world that can be reflected in the photos that I’m going to take, I want to see something that’s hidden behind that beauty and it’s waiting for me to discover it, not just a dull but beautiful face. Moreover, it is important how I am feeling when I’m taking the photos, sometimes I get inspired by the things I get to dream, there are times when I just go shooting without having something specific in my mind and I just see what I can do (it’s very refreshing) and other times, as it happened lately, music (especially instrumental) makes me very visual. Also, other importants elements are the location and the outfit. I like to create a story around an interesting dress or some dynamic clothing, such I did in the session for the designer Andra Handaric.
7.What attracts you to fashion?
To me fashion is an important piece of the final puzzle. I think I like fashion so much because it helps me express myself and it is also an inspiring element for my photography. Fashion can define better an idea, I see it part of the creative process and I believe it can be an extension of someone’s personality, it is versatile and allows you to explore different versions of yourself and let others get a glimpse of your personality, it gives you individuality and freedom of expression at the same time. To me fashion is a way of experiencing art.
8.Why is there a need for dreams in fashion?
Fashion is very consuming, changeable and if we want to keep up with it and bring something new, interesting and fresh, I think we must be able to dream away in order to make fashion a more artistic field, rather than a shallow one the way it is perceived mostly nowadays.
9.Do you have a mentor? Or is there a photographer that have influenced you greatly?
I follow the work of the foreign photographers especially, I don’t have a specific mentor, but I got to meet a lot of other photographers with whom I was able to talk or exchange ideas. Hmm, there is a memory that I cherish a lot. I’ve always admired Oltin Dogaru’s work and last year it so happened that I got to meet him. I recall I was so nervous at the beginning when I started talking to him, but he was very kind to me and gave me some guidance for my photography. I really wanted to find out his vision, the way he truly feels about photography, what does it take to be a good photographer, I already knew his work, but I was curious to find out what kind of person he is. After all, our inner world is the one that is mostly reflected in our photos. To me it was very inspiring and also it came as a confirmation of the things I already felt regarding this art of taking photos.
10.Are there ambitions you want to achieve?
Yes, I truly hope I’ll improve so much in this field that I will get to work more on editorials and maybe, one day, who knows, I will be able to hold some photography classes because I really feel like sharing my vision with everyone.