March 28th, 2019
Jesse Gussow

One cannot help but be pulled right into the mesmerizing photography of Darja Bilyk. Her use of colour draws your attention around all aspects of the image. Her background in landscape photography gives rise to stunning background scapes for her portraiture. The models put the whole piece together, bringing forth the emotions of the whole scene. Darja’s photography has such an incredible range and her scenes touch on so many emotions and feelings that they’ll have you craving more.



Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, but I've been living in Edinburgh, UK for two and a half years now.



How did you get interested in photography?

I was taking some landscape and urban pictures just for the memories when my friend told me they were actually good. I believed her and started to take pictures putting more thought into it. I realized I liked it and eventually got into reading loads of books. Not only about techniques but also some critic work to get different perspectives on photography's place in modern art.



Where do you get your inspiration for your photography?

I really enjoy hiking and travelling and lots of inspiration comes from seeing new and old places, nature, cities. People also inspire me. More often than not I see a person and I know how I would portray them. Also, books, paintings, music.



How do you prepare for a shoot?

Sometimes a preparation for a shoot starts long before the date itself! I go location scouting and negotiating with designers and models about the look I want to get. On the eve of the shoot I make sure I don't stay up late :) I also charge my camera and spare batteries, my light. I always pack everything the night before the shoot. That's a habit I’ve had since school but that way I get to enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning slowly and peacefully without running around the house looking for the things.



What do you want people to feel when they see your work?

Keeping in mind that I shoot different things, some of them can be quite dark and scary, others tender and airy; I think that for me it's just important to make people feel. Feel something pleasant or disturbing, but feel. Not just scroll though their feed without stopping.



How would you describe your photography work?

There's a genre in literature called magical realism. It paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements. My photography is not limited by that but this style is central in my work and I'm excited to continue working on it more.



What equipment do you shoot photography with?

Canon 5D Mark III and my favourite lenses are Canon ef 35mm f/1.4 and Canon ef 50mm f/1.8.



What do you feel when you are doing a photo shoot?

I'm normally quite excited and yet silent at the same time, fully focused on what I'm doing. I can never relax during the shoots because I'm constantly anxious that the model is cold or uncomfortable or that the designer dress gets ruined by thorns. I can't just stop worrying about everyone. Some of the shoots also feel like I'm taking pictures of myself since these are my ideas and my dreams, and they depict what I want to say. There's often more of my personality in the pictures than that of the model's.



If you could have a super power, what would it be? Would you use it for good or evil?

I would love to fly! I don't really want to use it for anything other than just enjoy the feeling. Well, maybe taking pictures from [a] bird's eye view :)



How has your work evolved from when you first started, to now?

I started with landscapes and I thought I would never take pictures of people because I didn't like the way they looked in my pictures. Now I'm very confident in portraiture.


What does your work say about you?

Generally speaking, photography personifies [a] photographer's taste. Thus, the diversity of one's photography reveals the mental development of the artist, their spiritual and personal erudition, their scope. It shows their knowledge, both literary and imaginative, of art, cinema, painting, life; and it also indicates the expressive means that the artist uses to have a dialogue with their viewer. Having said that, I guess it's my turn to ask: What does my work say about me to you?


Do you edit your own photos?

Editing process is equally important to me as shooting so I do all the editing on my own. I really enjoy it too! Sitting by the table near the window, listening to some music or audiobook, my dog by my side, and a good cup of coffee. Bliss!


Why do you shoot surreal photography?

I guess the answer is very simple: I just want to add a bit of a twist to everyday life, to see the impossible become real.


When you sleep, what are your dreams about?

Different things, I guess, like everyone else's. Sometimes they can be really interesting (at least, to me); they are always colourful and often I even hear some music. I wish I was a musician to be able to write it down.


Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

Oh, I'm not a sweet tooth! I prefer salty things, give me some pickles instead :)

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