Direct Sunlight And Only Men: Photography By Dana Scruggs
“Photography saved my Life” is Dana Scruggs answer to the question of how she would express her passion for photography in one sentence. Is there a stronger, more emotional, or more authentic answer than this? Probably not.
The young American didn’t take the step into self-employment in her childhood with the dream of becoming a photographer, but followed it with her move to New York: After jobs as a costume designer for films and as a fashion stylist, Dana Scruggs “jumped in at the deep end” in 2012 without any photography training and followed her passion.
In New York, she focused solely on photography and knew she had to continue pursuing just that. “The most important milestone in my career was when I moved to New York. During my 2nd week, I worked with my first male model and discovered that I loved shooting men. I love capturing their masculinity and their physicality.”
Dana Scruggs on the secret of successful creativity
Setting a specific goal and staying focused is often the success of and behind creativity. You stay true to yourself and your style and see things from a different, more focused perspective. In Scruggs case, it’s the focus of putting men in the spotlight.
If you ask where Dana’s fascination comes from, it’s clear that the New Yorker knows exactly what she wants: “Men are fascinating because, as woman, I’m attracted to men. I find their masculinity very beautiful and intriguing. In my opinion, they’re also more open to my style of shooting. With women, it’s harder for them to trust that I will make them look good. I’m asking them to do something they’re not used to doing so, the insecurity that they won’t look good can be an issue on my shoots. There are a few women that I love shooting because they’re super open to my style but, overall I feel like men are more willing to have fun with what I’m asking them to do.”
It is important to depict the models not only mannequins
Dana Scruggs finds inspiration for her expressive photographs primarily in everyday life, in her interactions with people and the ubiquitous things that surround you, whether it’s a movie, music, or other artists. “I think the key to inspiration is to stay in the world. It’s harder to be inspired if you’re by yourself all of the time.”
But how does the New Yorker-by-choice manage to express that very special twist, that certain something in her images, in which she often dispenses with elaborate settings or fashion? On the one hand, the images are characterized by purposeful lighting conditions, but the dynamics and expression of the models also play a central role. Dana adds: “I love to shoot in direct sunlight. I don’t care if the sun is right overhead. A few photographers express dismay when I tell them that I often shoot during midday. With that kind of light, the photos come out incredibly crisp. This allows me to shoot at a very high shutter speed, which is essential for capturing sharp movements.”
Creative control as an artist was the goal
It is important to the photographer above all to depict the models not only as mannequins who wear and stage the current fashion, but she is concerned with personality, strength, and the staging of fashion. “I love creating images that are emotional, strong, and show various aspects of the model’s personality and physicality.”
A strong and visual expressiveness that can no longer remain hidden – under this premise, the New Yorker recently founded her own magazine SCRUGGS, among others. The restriction to change herself and her own work to please other magazines was no longer an option, but much more to have the holistic, creative control as an artist: “So I decided to do it myself – I created my own platform.”
The ambition of Dana Scruggs is absolutely impressive
Impressed by the ambition, talent, and vision of the young photographer, we are curious to see what goals the American artist will set herself in the near future. In conclusion, we can all take a leaf out of her visions of becoming, as she says, “an even better photographer.” “I want to learn more about love, art, and film-making, travel a lot more, and procrastinate less. Accomplishing those things will help me become a better artist – which is always my Ultimate Goal.”
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