Chic French snapper focuses on Lviv

  • Dorothy Shoes autoportrait
  • Daily Road
  • Trompe l'oeil by Dorothy-Shoes
  • The Passenger by Dorothy-Shoes
Issue 10, February 2009.

I was first contacted by the Kharkiv branch of the French Cultural Centre in December 2007 and invited to exhibit my works at their centre, and ever since then my works have been exhibited in various cities throughout Ukraine. I am really looking forward to discovering the country for myself, and am especially excited about my upcoming trip to Lviv because a lot of Ukrainian people have told me that it is an absolutely wonderful city.

What are you hoping to take from your experience in Lviv?

I hope to discover a little bit more about what for me remains a largely unknown country. I would like to learn more about its own distinct culture and history. I also hope to meet as many Ukrainian people as possible in order to learn a little more about them and their perspective of life. I must admit to having one concern about my visit - I am already afraid of the freezing weather Ukraine often has in February!

What can you tell us about the works which will be exhibited in Lviv?

The pictures presented in Lviv are all talking about the complexities of the human existence. Each photo is a little tale in itself. My stories talk about loneliness, acceptance, broken dreams, disenchantment, great escapes and other everyday human extremes, but my principal theme is to show our internal labyrinths and delve into the private corners of the human mind.

What drew you towards photography as the medium in which to express your artistic inclinations?

I’m a self-taught photographer who has never taken any photography lessons or completed any sort of formal training. My artistic background is actually in the design of theatrical stages, and I think this comes out in my photography. I have always believed that the job of an artistic photographer should be to offer their personal eye on something without caring whether people will necessarily like it or not. Ultimately, the most important thing for any photographer is to remain sincere to themselves.

Where do you find inspiration for your photography?

I am inspired by simple human beings and their paradoxical beauties, their weaknesses, their fears, their broken promises and shattered dreams. Personally I find the most difficult part of my work the process of translating clear visions which I have in my head into the finished photographic product. The most pleasant part of my work is the time I get to spend with a model wandering the city streets and playing with my accessories without really knowing what I’m hoping to achieve, but looking for a special picture nevertheless.

You have exhibited all over the world and interacted with photographers and audiences from many different countries. In your experience what influences people’s attitudes to your work and photo art in general?

As a general rule I think people like to see what they’re used to seeing. They might know one or two of the most famous art photographers and be familiar with their work from TV and magazines, and as a result there is a tendency for the public to expect emerging photo-artists to produce things that are similar in style and equally familiar. I would also say that the concepts behind good photo art are actually universal. When I was in Indonesia for the opening of one of my exhibitions recently, I was lucky enough to meet lots of students at a photography workshop I hosted and I was really surprised to find that we were able to do professional conceptual photography together. They were pleased to discover another type of photography, far away from salon photography or fashion photography.

With the global economy stuck in recession, is now a good time to be a photo-artist?

Selling photographic art has always been notoriously difficult, because most people who want to buy art have traditionally tended to purchase paintings, whereas photography has been harder to market. It’s now also getting harder and harder because technical developments have made photo art more accessible to millions of people who might otherwise never have gone to the trouble or the expense of acquiring professional-standard photo equipment. Today with the development of digital cameras and the internet a huge amount of people are able to market themselves as photographers despite the fact they only take photographs as a hobby. This can make it more difficult to stand out from the masses and be heard. On the other hand, it’s a very good thing to see more and more people interested in this art form. Photographic art is getting more and more interesting, because photographers themselves are pushing the boundaries back and technology is allowing us to do new things all the time. The whole genre is getting more and more creative.

How important is spirituality in the world of modern art?

Actually I find it sad that today the king of everything is money, money and more money. Art has not spared this indignity. Some artists think about how much money they can make with their art before they consider the art itself. This is one of the worst diseases in the world today. Spirituality in every shape represents a pure approach to life, but I’m not sure that spirituality in itself makes one’s understanding of art deeper. For me that really depends on each human being, on what moves their heart and soul. For example, I believe that humanism can be as strong as spirituality.
What’s next on your schedule after your Lviv show?

I have two upcoming exhibitions planned for March in Paris, after which I am opening a show in New York. Who knows when I will be back in Ukraine? It is quite possible. I am very excited about finally being able to discover the country for myself.
Exhibition: Winter Circus (Photography)
Author: Dorothy Shoes (France)
Date: Until February 27
Location: Dzyga Art Centre
Address: 35 Verminska Vul.
Contacts: Tel:.(8032) 2975612
[email protected]

28 year old French photographer Dorothy Shoes presents her Winter Circus collection, which is heavily influenced by the author’s professional background in the field of theatrical stage design. The exhibition is the French photographer’s first in Lviv. She has been exhibiting in Ukraine since 2007.