“When I wake up I collect my dreams on a journal and many of them inspire me to take new pictures. I always shoot with natural lights and look for beautiful natural landscapes to complete my vision.”
Diana Debord (born in 1984) is a fine art photographer from Italy, currently based in Novara (Italy). She is self-taught when it comes to photography. Diana Debord is represented by Trevillion Image Library.
“As a child I was more interested in insects, astronomy and ghosts than dolls, I’ve always felt attracted to obscurity. Now that I’m into photography, I like to create images that merge decadent romanticism with dreamlike atmospheres, drawing inspiration from dreams or nightmares, paintings and books. I like to pack my photos with vivid colours, symbols and natural elements, just like dreamscapes captured by my camera.”
Interview with Diana Debord
Diana, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
Taking self-portraits alone in an abandoned house – creepy!
Why did you become a photographer?
I used to draw and paint as a child, then I spent my adolescence playing guitar in a band and trying to become a rock star! I always felt the urge to express my ideas and thoughts, and photography is the best way I know to do that. It’s just me, my camera and my dreams, and I can create what I want to see.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to transmit with your pictures?
Capitalist society tends to obliterate beauty. We are overwhelmed with images showing women as products or objects. I want the beauty of romanticism, art and real women to come back before the eyes of people. I like when people tell me that my photos convey something to them, I like to know their feelings and emotions and knowing that people are inspired by them gives me an incredible energy.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Sarah Moon and Julia Margaret Cameron are two of my favourite photographers. I like how their photos can guide you in a dreamland, and the eternal beauty of their black and white pictures.
“Very often I say to myself: I would like to make a photo where nothing happens. But in order to eliminate, there has to be something to begin with. For nothing to happen, something has to happen first.”
Your favorite photography quote?
“I have no fear of photography as long as it cannot be used in heaven and in hell.”
I think this quote could describe what I’m trying to picture: photos that look like they were taken in heaven or hell!
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
My photos come by chance, however I always have a starting idea. I dream a lot and I’m suspected to have narcolepsy. When I wake up I collect my dreams on a journal and many of them inspire me to take new pictures. I always shoot with natural lights and look for beautiful natural landscapes to complete my vision.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
I think the more eclectic you are, the more you can develop your own style. If you like and are inspired by many different things, they will become part of your works in the end. I’m always looking for new artists, places, images, sounds to inspire me.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
My main visual inspirations are paintings by Pre Raphaelites, Surrealists and Symbolists. So I guess the main characteristics of my works are more pictorial than photographic: composition and colors are extremely important to me and I often build an idea around colors and their combinations.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
Being a fine art photographer means you always need new energy to create. Seeing what other people don’t see. Tenacity, self-criticism, outspokenness and eclecticism are the most important characteristics I think.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
I do agree with Oscar Wilde when he says that:
“Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic.”
I like everything made to express something, with enthusiasm and spontaneity.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
I have very old-fashioned tastes! I draw inspiration from objects, images, books and movies from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I love the Pre Raphaelites and Edgar Allan Poe and try to combine romanticism with decadentism. I also draw inspiration from my dreams or nightmares, which are often bizarre and elaborate.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I use a Canon 550D, with 50mm f/1.8 lens. I also like using my film camera, an old Konica Minolta.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
What photography book would you recommend?
“The Photographer’s Handbook” by John Hedgecoe. It’s a book published in 1977 that covers a wide range of subjects: from exposure and composition to developing films. This is the first photography manual I got and it’s an incredible source of information.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
Tenacity is important. I’m not a self-confident person, but when it comes to my personal goals I always try and reach them, no matter what people say. If you are sincere about your work and know your limits, then you just have to define the aims you can achieve. We usually want everything immediately, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! As an artist, you build your career doing everyday as best as you can, stepwise.