Our Hero of the Week is Mariana Dias, also known as Azuruu, whose photographs are characterized by internal peace and quiet that also affect the observer. Spontaneous and sincere, Marian creates moody images of women’s feelings, revealing to us the recesses of the female psyche. Take a look, and you will see that her photos are not only beautiful, but also touches the heart.
Wanting to know more about her, we got in touch with Mariana for a quick interview, which you can read below
Please tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, and what you do.
I live in Porto, Portugal and I am 29 years old. I’m a fairly simple person who enjoys alone time a lot. Usually, it’s then that I get new ideas and inspiration for upcoming works/projects. I have a degree on Fine Arts and I’m currently studying Masters Degree on Contemporary Art.
How would you personally describe your style of photography? What message/s do you try to convey through your images?
I think my (and everybody’s in general) slightly changes – even, adapts – depending on what we go through with our lives and so on. I find myself an over sensitive person, who overthinks and analyzes too much. Even though I’m warm-hearted and joyful, I can somewhat act cold towards certain things in life…and I think that my latest series reflect just that. I’m very instinctive when it comes to what I do, which means most of the times I don’t really have a specific reason to create what I create. At the university, we need to think and detail each project and I want to work more around that (it’s fairly important), yet, 90% of my work comes from the inside and I’ve come to the conclusion they might work as a reflection of what it’s in my mind and my life at that point in life.
I like my works to stay “open” regarding messages. Obviously, I have a concept, keywords and usually I love creating an “odd” (dream-like) atmosphere within my pictures, but I simply love to hear/read what others have to say about it and my main goal is to make people enter some kind of another place, maybe in their mind, when they stare at my works.
Which elements of shooting film are you drawn to the most?
Film can give me what digital cannot. It’s not only about the colors (while they obviously play an important role in my work), but that hazy look sometimes we get in photos. It has way more depth of field, perhaps? It looks like everything is not from the real world. It’s wonderful to shoot in a particular place/space where you usually are most of your time and you know it well, and as soon as you get the photos you see that that place/space has been transformed into something else, where you’ve never been at yet. Obviously, this happens when I am shooting indoors since I use my own bedroom or somebody’s house. It’s a leap from what’s real into what’s not; a transformation. It’s wonderful!
What would you say is your greatest inspiration?
I love observing. I can sit quiet somewhere out and I am feeding my eyes with a variety of images, movements, gestures… Sounds play an important part too (hence music being so important to me). Since I’m constantly thinking about a lot of things, questioning and so on, I could say my greatest inspiration is the world around me. Then, again, I can get very much inspired by a simple touch, movie frame, song… I’ve said I love gaming above; Final Fantasy is my favorite series of games ever since I was 11 and it’s become part of me. I always mention FF when asked about inspiration, for instance, but I can’t restrain it to only that. Inspiration, to me, comes from a variety of places, people and situations. Even a small, casual talk with a stranger can inspire me at some point, really.
Name someone whose art makes you shiver.
Can it be any kind of art (I don’t usually separate art in general). Right now, I really, but REALLY have to say Bryan Fuller (the producer of the latest Hannibal TV series). I’ve been following the series since it first started as I am a Thomas Harris fan (and Hannibal’s movies etc). The series finale was last week and it was superb, visually superb; I mean, every single episode. It was amazingly well done and aesthetically was amazing. It simply made me shiver each time.
If you had to choose a camera + film to shoot with for the rest of your life, which combo would it be and why?
I really have no idea… I haven’t tried enough cameras or film brands to make that ultimate decision. I think, for starters, I would keep Canon brand (I use a Canon AE-1) but I’d like to try a Praktica one (the oldest, the better to me) and medium format someday as well. As for film brands, I am about to try new brands, such as this “Lucky 200” brand. I’ve seen some really nice photos taken with it (color-wise).
If you could time travel to the past and be the assistant of a great photographer, who would it be?
Oh I’d love working with Sarah Moon. Man Ray could be interesting as well.
Can you share the weirdest situation you’ve faced being a film photographer?
I haven’t had anyt weird situation, per se, yet, but I can mention two: sometimes, I get so enthusiastic when shooting and when I see a great posing, gesture, angle, whatever, I’m like “please stay like that–!” and when I’m about to shoot I notice I had forgotten to load another frame…and that kind of breaks my creative thought. Another was when I was delievering my film cartridge to get developed, the assistant was like “yeah I know it’s yours because you always rewind the film backwards.” I had no idea I could rewind it backwards? I’m pretty sure that never happened, though, but it’s something I always laugh about when rewinding the film after a shoot.
If you had to choose a movie that defines you both personally and aesthetically, which one would it be?
“Lolita,” directed by Adrian Lyne (1997) although I am neither a pedophile nor a child.
Do you remember the photo you took that made you feel proud for the first time? Can you share it with us?
I have felt proud before, but the one that I really really felt proud of was Fragmentos #6 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ikai-zixie/14064157262/in/dateposted-public/). It’s still one of my favorites so far. The light, the composition, the strange/odd atsmosphere…the lines, everything. I still love it very much.
At Whattaroll, we believe that inspiration can come from many different sides. Can you write down and share with us a paragraph from the book you’re reading at the moment?
I believe in that too!
“It’s fear, Jack. The man deals with a huge amount of fear.
Because he got hurt?
No,no entirely. Fear comes with imagination, it’s a penalty, it’s the price of imagination”
-“The Red Dragon” Thomas Harris
Describe your shooting routine.
I wish I could shoot more often that what I do, but usually I think a lot before a shooting, even though most of my ideas just pop up in my mind randomly. I speak to my friends, the ones that usually model for me, we arrange everything necessary (props, location, time, day…). We meet up and start shooting. I usually take some time to wam up, to get into focus and inspired. When I’m inspired during a shoot, I can think more creatively but I know that won’t happen all the time, though. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves to just do and shoot…even if we fail in the end, at least we tried. Sometimes, some ideas that I have don’t really work in the end. It’s quite frustrating but it’s part of the routine, I guess.
Speaking of portraits, who’s the face you’d love to photograph but haven’t had the chance to have in front of your camera yet?
Ahh, that’s a tough one! I’d love shooting people I admired. Mostly that. That means known people, such as actors, musicians… I’d love photographing Ville Valo (HIM), Zhang Ziyi (I find her stunning!), Mads Mikkelsen, Skeet Ulrich… I have a few in mind really. Would love to make it happen, someday!
Who do you think we should feature in the next Hero of the Week section?
My very good friend, photographer and also my model, Inês de Castro. She’s a wonderful inspiration to me and she also works with film.
See more of Mariana’s work in the links below: