Meet the Editors: Dana Stirling
As a team, all of the editors of Aint-Bad can agree on one simple fact, we like photography. I mean, we really like it. This shouldn’t come as a surprise or anything, as most of our time is spent looking at, writing about, and thinking about photography. We’re excited to introduce ourselves as editors, as photography purveyors, as human beings. Introducing one of the newest members of the Aint-Bad team, Dana!
We’re lucky to have her on the team, especially because she’s busy doing a million other beautiful things! Ready for this?
Dana Stirling is a still life, fine art photographer, and the Editor in Chief of Float Photo Magazine. Born in Jerusalem 1989, Israel, and is currently based in Queens, NY. Graduated 2016 from the Photography, Video and related Media MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in addition to receiving her BA from Hadassah College Jerusalem in Photographic Communications in 2013.
Stirling’s work has been exhibited internationally including UNICEF Next Generation Photo Benefit at Aperture Foundation NY, “A Process – Der Greif” in Neue Galerie, Höhmannhaus Germany, Google photography Prize at Saatchi Gallery London UK, and Tel Hai Museum of Photography Israel. Some press and publications include, FeatureShoot, Hyperallergic, The Week Photo Blog, Glamour, Its Nice that, Fast Co. Design, Petapixel, thisispaper, Saurian Photography Magazine, and others.
She has been awarded the Google Photography Prize Finalist (2012), Gross Foundation grant for excellency in photography (2013) and the Weizmann institute scholarship for outstanding student achievement (2011). Stirling’s handmade publication ‘Dear Artists – We Regret to Tell You’ is a part of these collections: Yale University Library, Mass Art College of Art and Design Library, Savannah College of Art and Design Library and the Goldsmith University of London Library.
Yeah, she’s impressive.
Where ya from?
Originally I am from Maale Adumim, a small city near Jerusalem on the way to the Dead Sea, Israel. I’ve been in NYC for the past 4 years or so.
How long have you been a part of the Aint-Bad team?
I was lucky enough to be included in this awesome team in January 2017.
What’s your favorite song right now?
Biggest fear? Favorite smell?
Fear – US immigration
Smell – Fresh baked cookies. Not that I bake, but you know….
Color or black and white? Film or Digital?
COLOR – always ! Film, because it’s always a big part of my work and I hope always will be.
What constitutes a GOOD photograph or body of work? What are you drawn to when putting together Aint-Bad features?
For me it’s really mainly about that first moment when you see the first image in a series, does it make you scroll down and see more? Or does it make you feel like you’ve seen this before so what’s the point?! It is usually a project or images that makes me jealous I didn’t take myself.
Are you inspired by any specific locations?
I found that Upstate NY has a beautiful charm and landscape to it, I love it up there. I love people’s backyards, but I’ve learned that many Americans don’t really appreciate your interest in their property.
You are very selective with your framing, choosing which details and objects inform the scene. How much ‘styling’ do you do when photographing?
I am very, very picky with my photography. Sometimes when we go on ‘Photo-Days’ I will skip many things that I see that I feel still miss that ‘thing’ that I am looking for. There were times that I put the tripod, the camera, did everything, just to put it all away and never click. I try and not manipulate the scene. I think probably 95% of the images I took are of things that I found as is – which is their magic. I could never really think of an image I would like to photograph and than create it, I like wondering around and finding these moments.
I did in fact create one of my favorite photos which is the Pink Mirror’s that I made in my Grandparents house in Israel. I saw the mirror, it was folded on the side, and I wanted to take a photo of it, but it didn’t have a stand or table, so I decided to put it on a stool. I loved that moment, because I was able to experience this object like it was in it’s glory days, it was a really special moment.
Your work gives a specific attention to these objects that many overlook. As you present your images, you almost demand the viewers appreciation. Its soft, simple, and has a presence that a human could not encompass. Why are you drawn to making these types of images?
I see still life and objects as if they were people. I don’t typically shoot people, I think the only portrait I really have is of my mother, and I was only able to do that beacuse she was sleeping. I think, for me, these object are little stores I create in my mind, they are more than just their physical appearance, they are what they remind me, what they make me feel, what I wish was mine. I like making these, sometimes insignificant moments or objects, into something precious that I can claim and add to my collection. It a little hard to say why, but I seems to always take images in a very specific way – a very straightforward, clean, minimal frame, yet sometimes I feel like my personal life is chaotic and messy, so maybe this is a good balance.
Who has influenced your work the most? (Doesn’t necessarily have to be a photographer.)
Honestly, my family and my background. From it’s ups and downs my heritage is really what shaped my artistic view. I have always dealt with memories and families and found footage because of where I am from and my family’s story. My mothers attraction for family albums and the photography history I have with my father’s side of the family. It inspires me; for better or worst.
What aspects of your daily life are reflected through the work that you are drawn to or make?
I feel like the photos I take are usually not a part of my daily life, which is probably why I am most attracted to them, they are a part of the fantasy.
You mention that your images are not a part of your daily life. What kind of ‘fantasy’ world would you like to live and photograph in?
I would have to say that the ideal place for me would be a old fashioned mansion, that will have beautiful old furniture and windows that I could make still lives everyday. Im also imagining this place to have an attic filled wth old found footage to satisfy my other obsession.
If you could be best friends with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Takashi Yasumura, my favorite photographer of all times.
What is the most memorable image you’ve ever seen?
My best friend Takashi Yasumura’s photo of a pink stapler. I saw this photo when I started working in color and it changed my whole perspective on what it means to use colors and what it means to create a still life that can tell a family story. I think it’s simplicity is memorizing, and of course, this is an image I wish was mine.
Favorite Aint-Bad publication?
Zora Murff : Corrections – Wonderful images that are truly inspirational.
Worst photograph you’ve ever made? Is there a story behind it?
Well, this is probably just one of many that I have deleted or disowned from my archive, but I took this photo back in 2012 (I think) in Saker Park Jerusalem while I was trying to accomplish a school assignment for a “Documentary” class the day before it was duo. There was a long protest in the country and people were staying in tents to protest the prices of apartments and living in Israel– this is one of the photos from this mini assignment – probably the most boring photo taken that reflects nothing of the political situation, and is just an embracement to any still life photography ever!
Have more questions for Dana? Feel free to reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website, http://www.danastirling.com.