PURIST: What inspires you as a photographer?
Diana Frank: People, light-play and the potential for magic. Capturing a millisecond in time, a moment that will never be recreated is truly sacred. My passion for photography and the creative expression that comes along with it began when I first became a mother, almost 16 years ago. An artist friend told me that I had a great eye, bought me a book on composition and encouraged me to hone my skills. My husband then gifted me classes at ICP (International Center of Photography) that Christmas. Soon, I was chasing my children as well as other people’s children all over the place with a camera in hand, loaded with costumes, props, bubble machines and snow machines.
PURIST: There is a dreamlike quality to your work, a mix of beauty and fantasy. What appeals to you about looking at the world in this way?
DF: Looking at the world in any other way seems almost drab. To show someone, especially a dear sister, how truly magnificent she is by portraying her in her full luminous splendor, is the greatest gift to me. I am so grateful for the willingness of these women to allow themselves to be vulnerable and feel tremendous honor for the trust they placed in me.
PURIST: What does the blurred focus suggest, in addition to a dreamlike state—that the artist is accessing a heightened realm, another dimension?
DF: It most certainly is a heightened realm…the out-of-focus represents a window into a magical space between dreams and wakefulness. That moment in between breaths. In meditation, this is the sweet spot. This is where I believe the real magic happens. Where enchanted fairies frolic freely and sometimes cause mischief, but only of the most delicious kind.
PURIST: How would you describe this world that the viewer is being drawn to?
DF: This body of work is about celebrating women: our beauty, our fierceness, our strength. It is about our connection and how powerful we are when we lift each other up.
PURIST: What inspired you to create this world? Is there a meditative aspect to it?
DF: It was during the pandemic that my dear friend urged me to pick up my camera and to create some magic, with her being the first subject. I immediately knew I was onto something very special based on the feelings the images evoked in me. The light-play and captivating captures of these goddesses gave me butterflies in my stomach.
During one of my meditations it came to me, the idea to create this body of work for the purpose of raising awareness and funds for Sanctuary for Families, which is a NYC-based organization that aids and empowers survivors of gender-based violence. These victims include women, transgender persons and children who are oftentimes homeless and living in fear while fleeing from their perpetrators. During these unprecedented times the need for these services has escalated to a heartbreaking level right in our beloved New York City, inspiring me to create this unique body of work to lend my support.
Before I knew it, I had purchased a large-format printer and turned our basement into a temporary (my poor husband!) printing shop. I started printing archival prints on rag photographique paper…a matte velvet. It is almost a sin to put glass over this exquisite paper, but there really is no other way. If you touch the paper, the oil from your fingers will destroy it. And 100 percent of the profits from these prints will be donated to Sanctuary for Families.
PURIST: That famed Hamptons light really shines through in the work. Where were these images taken?
DF: All the images were taken at my home, in my garden, the ever-changing backdrop. I tease my friend, Christine Harmon, who helps me with my garden, that she should add “set designer” to her list of qualifications. The image of my friend Kat, “Impressionist Angel,” is really quite extraordinary, for those peonies lasted only a few breaths; by the same time the following day, the purple alliums had become the prominent color and texture. I love the way the light plays ever so softly upon her skin and how the image has this painterly quality. The late-afternoon light is always quite enchanting; it’s no wonder it brings so many artists to the East End. There is nothing quite like it.
And the image “Yard Girl Angel” is of my friend Diane [Robinson]. She is an educator and filmmaker (Yard Girl Productions). The day I shot her, I had just run into Marders garden shop, as I often will do for a little inspiration, and saw these huge blue feather wings I knew I had to shoot her in. Diane is a beautiful light and force in this world for social justice. She specializes in films that impact change, and recently finished a film called The Young Vote. She is a 2021 recipient of the Black Voices for Black Justice Award from the Moriah Fund.
“On Gossamer Wings” by Diana Frank is on view at Tripoli Gallery, 26 Ardsley Road in Wainscott, on Saturday, August 7, from 5-8PM.
100% of the profits will be donated to Sanctuary For Families which is a NYC based organization that aids and empowers survivors of domestic and gender-based violence. These victims include women, transgender persons, and children who are oftentimes homeless and living in fear while fleeing from their perpetrators. During these unprecedented times, the need for these services has escalated to a heartbreaking level right here in our beloved NYC inspiring me to create this unique body of work to lend my support.