Dina Isam (@sodamncolors) is a half-Serbian, half-Jordanian photographer, musician, writer, and painter who lives in Serbia after eighteen years in Amman (the capital of Jordan). Recently, she traveled to North Serbia with her band, Bohemija, and spent time in the studio creating music. We chatted with her to talk about her life as an artist in this interview.
Who or what inspired you to be an artist?
My mother inspires me the most! She was a great self-taught photographer and an artist. She always had a camera around her neck and I grew up watching her draw and create great art. I grew up far away in the East, I was five years old when we moved to Jordan. I did not know their language at first. It was hard for me in the beginning, but I had to learn fast so I can get to know them and their culture. I started drawing my dreams and everything I see around and never stopped drawing. It helped a lot, my creativity and my imagination helped me understand life and the people around me.
I spent half my life on the road with my parents and my four sisters. We traveled thousands of miles and slept on the road. We met new people and new cultures. Some pictures and memories are always in the heart. As time goes on I remember more and more those moments I spent traveling on this planet and this is how my love of photography began and it took a great place in my heart.
But when I was 17, I suddenly stopped creating because I was lost between my dad's and mom's religion and culture. And I had a hard time living and growing up in Jordan. It is hard for women to grow and fight for their lives there. I didn't know what to do with myself or who will I become because all I wanted to be is to be free and to create art. But I had to learn four languages and to finish my studies...
After that, I had the biggest breakdown in my life. I was afraid and anxious and I lost my true self, I lost this child full of great thoughts and colorful. imagination. I suffered from PTSD. I did not go out for a year. But one morning I woke up I realized that I deserve to be alive and to create, so I started to observe my mind and every thought that comes to my mind and decided to love my self and to face my traumas and fears. I stood up, took my camera and started shooting, and never stopped. Photography has always been a therapy for my soul and my mind.
Does being a photographer influence your music, painting, writing (and vice versa)? In what way?
Yes! everything is connected. Being an artist helped me understand this. I have been writing my daily journal for years and with my writing, I can create a drawing or a collage from where the music comes out and I write a song, and from this vision, I can make a photo that describes everything. and this goes on in circles to the infinity!
How would you describe your photography style, in three words or less?
I can say that every photo I took has always reflected who I am and how I have been feeling these days. I don't think a lot before shooting because I let my imagination and my feelings do the job.
Among the photographs you shared on your Lomohome, which are the 5 photos you’re most proud of?
There is always a story behind every memory or thought that I transform into a photo. As a kid I used to love shadows. I loved that dark place that appears when the sun is behind me. I stood for hours watching my body turn. I remember imagining a colorful world full of flowers and bees coming out from this dark place. Those where my long days growing up in the east... and that is how I grew up dancing with my shadow and singing for the sun... some thoughts always take us back to the distant past and some things we still do today because they bring us back to experience those beautiful moments that once meant everything to us. Photography helps me to express my feminine energy, to stand and create images that talk about strength and love, about happiness and seeing a light in the darkest places in our hearts.
The global pandemic has limited interaction with people and places. As an artist, how did you adjust to the situation?
During the lockdown it was hard for me because we could not go out and do the things that we were doing before. We canceled our concerts. I decided to learn more about 120 film and I bought YASHICA 635 TLR and dive into film world. I have books that I read and learn more and more about photography. My boyfriend and I spent great time together, we practiced and played music and created art.
The situation we are facing changed the way I live and spend my time. I had more time for myself and I focused on creating art the most. I worked on myself and made some decisions and changes for my future. I did not push myself hard, I just went with the flow.
I realized that we are all one and we are always facing the same things may be in different forms, but we are all sons and daughters of mother Earth. We are all beautiful and every morning a flower comes out of us. If our hearts and minds are filled with this sense of affection, we won't hurt and won't destroy and hate. we will be happy. and happiness comes when our minds are empty. It is important to talk about freedom, about love for love is the greatest thing in life.
Thank you, Dina, for sharing your stories with us! Visit her LomoHome to see more of her photos.