Meet the Artist 2018: Dasa Wharton
Published: 05 June 2018
Having participated in Skipton Open Studios before, Dasa Wharton is taking part in the event again this year. Dasa is an international photographer and has worked with some of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world. Dasa also creates wall art for which she takes inspiration from the island life. For Open Studios, she will be exhibiting a varied body of work, from oversized metallic prints to fine art prints in her home studio. When visiting her studio, visitors will get a chance to talk to her about various aspects of her work and her commissioned work. Dasa is a long term supporter of a number of local charities, and firmly believes in the power of photography and how it can change people’s perception.
We caught up with Dasa to ask a few questions about her work:
How did you first get into art?
I have been interested in photography ever since I remember. I started taking it more seriously when my husband bought me a beautiful Canon 50e camera some 20 years ago. I still have it.
How have you developed your artistic career?
A combination of academic learning when taking a photography course at the Open College for Arts, professional training and membership in the Royal Photographic Society, gaining their Licentiate award (LRPS) and now working on the next level, Associate ( ARPS) and working with some amazing photographers as the famous American ballet photographer Gene Shiavone.
How do you think your art has changed since you first started creating?
Every image that I take reflects my current personal feelings, the space I am in at that very moment, so in that respect I am learning, changing and developing my style every single time I take my camera. When I work with a model, it is all about teamwork and capturing the personality of the person I am photographing. I would say that the biggest change is in the level of my confidence when I approach a photoshoot. I understand more now that photography is largely about psychology and the connection between the photographer and the models, and I think I am pretty good at making my models feel relaxed and happy in front of my camera.
What project are you working on now or have completed recently?
I have been photographing some amazing productions of the English National Ballet in London, one of the best performances that I have ever seen and photographed was the Akhram Khan’s Giselle. I also had the privilege to photograph the legend of male ballet dancing, Carlos Acosta, the former star of the Royal Ballet, during his first European performance with this new established dance company Acosta Danza. Going back to Prague several times a year to photograph Czech National Ballet is one of my favourite jobs, as I can combine the work trip with visiting my parents.
When I don’t photograph ballerinas, I love photographing brides. Some of my wedding photography was published in the English Wedding Blog.
A selection of my photos from my most recent work can be seen on the blog Gramilano:
English National Ballet dances Song of the Earth and La Sylphide
Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion at the London Coliseum in Pictures
Akram Khan’s Giselle – ENB’s smash hit in words and pictures
Man-thongs and brazen theatricality: Acosta Danza photo album
Tamara Rojo and Ivan Vasiliev in Le Jeune Homme et La Mort
What projects are you working on now / will be working on in the near future?
Next few weeks will be really busy as I will be spending a week in London photographing in Sadler’s Wells rehearsals of the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new programme. I am also looking forward to photographing the Emerging Dancer Competition, where six promising young dancers from the English National Ballet perform in London Coliseum. In the meantime, I am working on a local project together with some young talents, more to be revealed soon. I will be taking part in the CCA Galleries International Summer Exhibition, and will be running a photography workshop in the CCA Galleries on 19th of July, so would like to invite anyone who wants to improve their photography skills, and we will be covering mobile photography as well. All proceeds from this workshop will go to the Jersey Child Care Trust (JCCT). It is a charity very close to my heart and I have been supporting their work for last several years.
Talking about the JCCT, we are working on a project together showing the development and ambitions of some of the children that had been supported by the JCCT in the past. It’s important to see what difference the support of the trust made to them and to their families, and photography is a perfect medium to show it. (A recent article about JCCT and my work for them here.)
What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
A beautiful bronze statue of a man and a woman that my husband and I got when we were moving away from the hague, in Netherlands, where we spent a few years. We bought it in our favourite gallery and the name of the statue is “samen verder” which means ‘we are better together’.
What is your favourite place to see art?
The National Portrait Gallery in London, Leica Gallery in Prague, the Getty in Los Angeles, the MoMA in New York, Museum D’orsay in Paris, Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam…I could go on and on…
What have you been doing so far to prepare for Skipton Open Studios?
Invitations are done and will go to print very soon, I also created a number of beautiful prints from my Czech printer, a small family run company that produces hand made paper in the traditional way that was used hundreds years ago. It’s very special as every sheet of paper is slightly different and hence unique. I love working on my wall art collection, I add new images to it every year, it comes as limited edition of prints, not only on paper but also on materials such aluminium sheets.
Why should we visit your studio?
I will be holding the SOS this year in our house, so big part of the house will become a gallery and a projection space. The concept of my open studio is ‘summer party', so while people have a look at my work, they can also sip some bubbles, talk, wonder around the garden and hopefully enjoy some sun as well.
Contacts and other examples of my work: