Amongst the worlds many talented artists I will find those who truly catch the eye more than most. Usually this is due to a uniqueness in style that is appealing to me in particular or a subject matter presented through a noteworthy medium which sparks an interest in me to see more. And the availability to display one’s work on the internet has created a worldwide forum where we have the opportunity to enjoy an artist’s work from distance shores. Granted there is something to visiting a gallery in person, mingling with other admirers of a particular painter, photographer, musician or anyone else for that matter. The availability though to access someone’s art via the Web has surely enriched all of us who take advantage of the internet. With a bit of effort and time you can travel the world visiting many historical sites reliving the time period or witness an event which had been to far to travel, just by typing in an address on the top of your web browser.
Such privileges gives us access to unique artists. In my search for just that, a unique artist to feature in this article, I came across the gallery of images shared by the photographer Discortia who resides in a small town in Finland and who has been gracious enough to accept this interview and tell us a little about her and her work.
BP: Tell us about you and where you live.
Discortia: I was accepted to music classes when I was 9, and have played the piano ever since I was 6. My teenage years were furious search for myself, but even though it was painful, I learned a lot. Now I’m a musician with a small label owned by me and my husband, and while I’m not composing, recording or performing, I spend all my free time with my camera.
To me, Finland is a great place to live because it has four seasons, and all of them are so different. My current hometown is quite small, and that’s what makes it so comfortable for me to live in – I like it when everything’s so near.
BP: You use the name “Discortia” on your work. Why that name and what does it mean?
Discortia: It’s a sort of my own version of "Discordia", which caught my eye in Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. After reading the part where the word was introduced, it never left my mind, and in my head it was twisted to “Discortia” ‘cause for some obscure reason it sounded better to me. Its benefit is that in most internet communities “Discordia” is very often claimed by someone else, while “Discortia” is always free. I think I started to read his books when I was around 11 years old, and every time I read a new book from him, I fell in love with his writing style all over again.
BP: How did you get into photography, particularly working with dolls?
Discortia: It all started with the dolls. After learning the basics, though, I started to get interested in photographing other things as well, and even though my main focus is still on dolls, I also like to take photos of other things that catch my eye. It has been pretty accurately a year now. Before that I didn’t even own a camera, but when I opened that door I couldn’t imagine ever quitting photography.
I’ve always loved pretty things, and since photography is, at least to most doll owners, an essential part of the hobby, it was only a natural step after getting my first doll. They are all based on characters I created long before I even dreamed about owning my own doll – each one has years of planning and dozens – even hundreds of pages of text behind it. I wouldn’t feel comfortable owning a doll that was just an empty shell.
BP: The images you posted on Deviantart.com is what caught my attention because of a number of things such as pose, color, and angle. What steps do you take to prepare a shot?
Discortia: It really depends on what I’m going after. Sometimes it’s as little as a fabric I pin to the wall behind the doll, if I’m doing just close-ups, or the whole idea of the shoot can start from an object, say, candlestick, and then I start collecting things that fit the idea, and choosing clothing for the doll that fits the mood. When I shoot around the house I don’t really have to think about lighting ‘cause I’m so familiar with where the best light is and what camera setting to use.
I like details and close-ups, small things that catch the eye. Colors are also very important to me, and I like to experiment with them, how the photo’s feeling changes when you play with the colors.
BP: What are the tools you use?
Discortia: My camera is Nikon D90, with various lenses. My computer is self-built from components I chose myself, and for software I use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, with several photo-editing plugins.
BP: All artists get some sort of inspiration to motivate them. What kinds of things inspires you?
Discortia: Talent. I hear an unbelievable song, or see an amazing image, and feel like “I want to be as good someday”. It doesn’t matter what form it is in, if it awakens strong emotions inside of me. I’ve always been intrigued by what human minds can produce, when in some artist’s heads the limits of their capabilities start to blur. That’s a state I wish to achieve some day.
BP: Anyone particular when it comes to photographers or musicians?
Discortia: (Photographers) I don’t really have anyone in mind, at least not yet. I love to look at great photography, but even though the photos touch me, the names behind them slip my mind very easily. (Musicians) Oh, there are so many. Tori Amos, Carole King, The Carpenters, Garbage, Yuki Kajiura, Origa… these are all artists I’ve been listening for a long time, but otherwise it’s the same as with photography – to me a great song is a great song, regardless of the genre or performer. Some artists have more of them, some less. I can go completely crazy over a good song for days, and then never listen to the same artist again.
BP: Are there other creative avenues in which you put your energy?
Discortia: Writing has always been a dear hobby of mine, as has painting. Overall I love everything where you get to use your imagination and create new things. I mostly sit on my computer… since everything I like to do (write, paint, make music) are linked to my computer. If I don’t feel like watching the screen I like to make doll clothes or go for a walk in the woods.
BP: Tell us your future plans regarding you and your work.
Discortia: To always grow, day by day, photo by photo both technically and artistically. I’ve never really thought about it any further. Maybe attend to some courses about photography – I’m completely self-taught, so I’m sure that there are things I still don’t know about or quite understand. But I want to constantly grow to be a better artist, be it music; photography… imagination and emotions keep me breathing. If I couldn’t roam in my own free world, I would be empty. I hope to someday create something that really touches people, I just don’t know the medium for it yet. My best guess would be music, since it’s the thing I’ve done the longest.
BP: What do you fear most?
Discortia: To someday lose all my inspirations, my will to grow, and to go empty inside.
BP: If you could shoot photos anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Discortia: I’ve always loved to look at photos of Japan in spring, the cherry blossoms, also Japan’s architecture and people. I think Asian people are very beautiful! So I think Japan would be the place.
BP: Lastly, once you finish a shot that turns out to your expectations, how does that make you feel?
Discortia: I feel like I’m one step closer to being what I wish to achieve. I feel like I want to tell the whole world that today I succeeded, and I want to share it with everyone. If it’s something that really makes me feel that I’ve learned to see and capture in a new way, I say to myself: “I did this. This is me”. That is the feeling that keeps me going.
You can find more of Discortia’s work on Deviantart.com where her portfolio continues to grow with her work, and at Den of Angels, an international forum for BJD (ball jointed doll) owners, traders and enthusiasts.
Today the world is indeed a smaller place where we can connect with people from across the globe. Thanks to technology we can experience and share the “stuff” that makes who we are, share our aspirations, and more importantly feed off of each other to grow in our creativity. The opportunity to express ourselves as writers, photographers, musicians, etc. is a big blue wide open sky. The hope is to never let the well of creativity run dry, but to drink from it often as we continue to expose ourselves to the talented artist around the world.