Sydney-based analogue photographer Caroline Dare's young body of work is a colorful tornado of portraits and images that leave debris of visual representations on her femininity, portrayed in several facets and perspectives — all colorful and ever-changing.
Caroline grew up surrounded by kindred spirits of the film medium. She attributes her four older sisters to be responsible for her early interest in film and even recalls the first time she took a photograph that truly connected with her. It was a time when one of her sisters asked a 12-year-old Caroline to take a shot with her camera:
“I remember looking through the lens and feeling everything all at once. I felt overwhelmed with the beauty in framing life through a lens. It was then that I realized I could create a world of my own through the camera. It was empowering. It was also the first time I felt the sensation of a fleeting moment. I knew that particular moment would never exist again and it was frightening to understand it in its entirety. The camera gave me some sense of permanence at that moment.”
Self-portraits are usually depictions of how people want us to see. We all have a certain ideal as to how people would want to see us. For Caroline, a single aspect won't do. She uses the 35 mm format as her primary means to translate the entirety of her femininity into photographs -- and there exists no fixed temperament or mood to her style. The spontaneity of film adds excitement.
The theme of freedom continues even in her visual aesthetic.
One would notice how her photographs are vividly drenched and inked in color. Brilliant portraits polarize between cool and warm tones, subtly giving a retro and bohemian vibe. Pastel yellows, neon pinks, teals with hints of cherry red are the only constants. To keep her palette, she would usually keep a stock of Kodak Portra, and keeps a minimalist set of tools for the trade: a tripod, scanner, and her cameras. At times, she'll also dabble with the digital medium, as Caroline likes to keep her routine unrestricted and limitless.
And collectively, her photographs bring in one beautiful mess. The work process is intuitive, spontaneous, and uncertain. Everything is based on the emotion and feeling, highly influenced and inspired by people, relationships, music, flowers -- anything that is "violently colorful". Even the ugly things such as garbage give her the eureka moment, as sadness, anger, and negativity are also parts of one's being:
“It is important for me to show that people are deeply chaotic and emotional — people are not always consistent. People are often soft and sweet and abrasive and harsh all at the same time. But I think it’s necessary to say that I don’t always like to embody this perspective into my work — sometimes emotions deserve to be isolated and represented on their own. Sometimes I just want something to feel soft, because that is how I am feeling in that exact moment. And sometimes I want something to feel really abrasive because that’s how I’m feeling in the next moment. But then it gets really complex because in a way even those images are entirely multifaceted because the emotion I shoot on is most likely not the emotion I edit with. There are always multiple layers of emotions put into it.”
For now, Caroline continues to go with the flow, working along with her creative impulses while striving for sustainability. “I’m working very hard to create a lifestyle for myself that fully integrates my ethics and morals into every aspect of my existence.” she tells us. She wonders if her style will suddenly change someday, just as how her feelings will. Everything changes and everything is unknown. So does Caroline Dare, a true wonderchild of art and photography.