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Artist Of The Week – Dare Darlington

May 31, 2010 by · 4 comments

Adriana Dimitrova’s interview with photographer Dare Darlington

Self Portrait - Bang-a-licious
Self Portrait – Bang-a-licious

Asking a photographer questions isn’t very easy. So, at the beginning, how would you like to introduce your works?

Gosh, that’s tough, um.. I think I’d say something like: My greatest wish for my art is emotion. I want something to be felt and sensed, and I want my art to inspire – for better or worse.

And what is your main occupation; how important is the photography in your life? (What do you want to do when you “grow up”?)

Artistry doesn’t always have an immediate payoff (unfortunately), so I own a website with my husband that we both work on, but at the same time gives me a lot of free time to work on my art. I like to consider myself a full time artist, but I also write.


I’m working on a new novel right now. I’m fortunate to live a life that gives me the time to do what I love. At first, I didn’t think of making a penny off my work, but I’m starting to think otherwise now. I’ve gotten some input from some friends/family who have suggested a multitude of possibilities. I just have to decide which direction to take.

Photography is something that is always changing for me. When I got back into it (in 2004), I took it pretty lightly, but now I want to learn all the little tricks and details of the craft. I’ve even thought of enrolling back in school solely for that purpose.

Dear Kitty New York
Dare Playing Card: Dear Kitty New York,

Do you prefer PhotoShop-production than the old fashioned camera?

I think the process of old fashioned photography and camera work is so romantic. I remember my days in the darkroom with fondness, but awkwardness at the same time. I wasn’t very good good at it, to tell you the truth. I did love it, though. What I love about the digital age is the instantaneousness of it all!

To think that I can snap a photo, plug the cartridge in my USB drive, boot up PhotoShop, and just start working at it is SO fantastic! I think digital cameras, accessible photo editing programs like PSP and PhotoShop, and photo-sharing places like Flickr give us all a chance to dabble in the arts.

Dare Digital_The Scrabble Girls
Dare Digital – The Scrabble Girls

Your works are conceptual pictures, looking like hand made drawings. What is your favourite muse and theme of “shooting”?

It’s funny, because once you start shooting a lot of photos, I think you start to view the world with different eyes. I take my camera everywhere I go.. even if it’s only a run to the market, because you never know what you’ll stumble across. I try to find magic in the everyday, and I think I just have a crazy-imagination for seeing possibilities in the most mundane things. Usually, an idea for something will pop into my head and I’ll just throw myself into looking for the bits and pieces that I need to see it through.

Who or what influenced you? Do literature and music play a significant role in what you’re doing?

Music is a HUGE inspiration for me. I’ve music playing almost constantly around the flat; it’s something I MUST have whenever I’m creating. Dreams as well play a big part in my art. If I have a dream that inspires, I write it down as soon as I can for later use.

My old diaries (I am a compulsive diarist) play a big role in both my writing and my artwork. I suppose it’s there that I find emotions and remember all of the people who inspired me throughout my life. Distance does wonders for old wounds and tragedies..those scars don’t hurt as much, so they become useful to me.

Dare Digital - When you walked me home
Dare Digital – When you walked me home

I see you’re a big Hugh Grant and Starbucks fan. And of course – of your cats too!

Oh, yes. I’ve had a big crush on Hugh Grant since I was about seventeen years old. I’ve always found him fascinating AND he’s gorgeous. Crushing on Hugh led me to a lot of good things, and YES I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. I picked up Evelyn Waugh and made two trips out to England because of Hugh Grant. My girlish hopes of running into him, of course, never happened. England is a gorgeous country. I’ve always said it’s impossible to take a bad photo in England.

Dare Memory Box_England
Dare Memory Box – England

As for Starbucks, it’s always a place close to my heart. I’ve spent many (probably too many) hours at Starbucks, especially back in my college days. I even worked there for four years! My kitties, especially Gabby the Tabby, get a lot of love on Flickr. Gabby is always a ham for the cam, and she’s such a pretty cat… very expressive too. Zelda’s a black cat, so she’s a bit tougher to photograph AND she just does not like staying still.

Dare Photo_Zelda Green
Dare Photo – Zelda Green

You’re from San Francisco, but you also travel to Europe? Where can you find inspiration?

Here in the city, it’s easy to get bombarded by so many things. It’s almost as if everything comes at you at once, and there’s a kind of beauty to it. You can snap a photo on almost any corner, it’s quick paced, fast moving. In Europe (I’ve seen England and France), it’s totally different. There’s a vibe in Europe that I just adore. Landscapes were always my favorite in England.

Dare Photo - At the Park
Dare Photo – At the Park

In France, I photographed crowds and gathering places. I think Europe offers something completely different to the photographer, you’re surrounded by so much history over there. I remember literally running my hands and fingers over old buildings… it’s a bigger picture over in Europe.

Dare Digital - Let's Play
Dare Digital – Let’s Play

What is the greatest satisfaction for you as an artist and your biggest challenge?

My greatest satisfaction would probably be when I know that I gave my all to a piece, and then having people respond to it either good or bad with fervor. I love it when someone emails me saying that they were touched by something I’ve done.

I suppose at times I feel very much like an outsider, but when people respond to my art and can relate to it, I feel a bit less lonely. Challenge-wise, I’d say not being a gazillionaire! Ha! I would love the opportunity to take pictures all over the world! I’d love to see Africa and Asia most of all, and also I’d love to have all the prime photography equipment to go along with it!

Dare Digital_Flip Flop Fairies
Dare Digital – Flip Flop Fairies

What do you dream of?

Literally dream – wise I see so many things, and go to so many places. Lately dreams have been revolving around people and old haunts, which inspire all the more. For a long time, I found myself on the run from people and situations, which also inspired a lot of work.

As for those big daydreams and goals, I’m a pretty simple person, really. I want to have a lot of love in my life, and acceptance. I want my friends to stay close to the heart. I had a lot of instability and drama in the early days of my life, so now I’m extremely thankful for the ordinary. My husband, my friends, my kitties, my art – a nice cold beer every once in awhile: I’m good!

Dare Dolly -  Kennedy Yellow
Dare Dolly – Kennedy Yellow

Dare Darlington is a photographer and digital artist living in San Francisco with her husband and two cats. She was an only child, and her mother always took her to art galleries, theaters, and museums when she was growing up, which she believes spurned an extra vivid imagination and the ability to see the world through different eyes.

She took one photography class in college in 1997, but didn’t really get into photography again until 2004 when she picked up her first digital camera. Darlington was introduced to Paint Shop Pro, and later PhotoShop through her husband, Jack. She’s a self-taught digital artist who picks up most tips and tricks through other artists and various online tip/trick sites. Currently, Darlington is working on her “Small Worlds Series”, which she says is all about finding magic in the most unlikely of places.

Dare Darlington was recently published in the tenth edition of the Schmap Cambridge Guide.

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