MAGAZINE // ARTISTS
Dina is a Canadian photographer and Pop Surrealist with a background in documentary photography.
She creates visual series that place the mundane and everyday in unusual settings to inspire insight into the human condition.
I am a Canadian photographer and Pop Surrealist with a background in editorial photography. For me, photography is intended not to produce an aesthetic that echoes current beauty standards, but to evoke and wrest feelings of shame, anger, shock and empathy from the observer so as to inspire insight into the human condition.
I have always felt that my experience as a documentary photographer complements my conceptual photography — they inform each other technically and creatively. From my more candid work, I have learned that spontaneity and a lack of control are sources of inspiration. This has inspired trust in my instincts to nurture the most fleeting of concepts. For example, my Fallen Princesses series was born out of deep personal pain, when I raged against the “happily ever after” motif we are spoon fed since childhood. The series created metaphor out of the myths of fairy tales, forcing the viewer to contemplate real life: failed dreams, pollution and ocean degradation, war, obesity, the extinction of indigenous cultures, cancer and the fallacy of chasing eternal youth. By embracing the textures and colors created by Walt Disney, which built a multi-billion dollar empire exploiting these fairy tales, Fallen Princesses exposed the consumerism that has negated the morality of these ancient parables. It also begged the question, “how do we define the concept of ‘good’ and how do we live a ‘good’ life?”.
My most recent work is a sequential narrative that unfolds within a ten part series. ‘In the Dollhouse’, has, as Fallen Princesses did, sparked an international response. This time, I have taken on one of the most powerful symbols of Western culture: Barbie, the idealized woman. More than any other childhood construct, Barbie represents the concept that Beauty is Power and necessary to attain Happiness. However, when Ken, Barbie’s handsome but emasculated boyfriend, expresses his individuality, the value of beauty as an apex trait is exposed as a cheap, plastic facsimile.
I just celebrated a 20-year career milestone with a retrospective ‘XX’ – 20 years in 20 pictures. I am based in Vancouver, Canada where I live with my filmmaker husband and my two lovely young girls.