Antoinette Dakota (and sometimes just Dakota!), I am a fashion-inspired and lifestyle portrait photographer living in the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne, Australia.
I have been photographing people since childhood, where my love for the craft was born by the stories told, and sometimes withheld, in the faces distilled in b&w portraits. Fascinated by the art and chemistry of photography I spent my entire adolescence camera-strapped and armed to shoot, then sliding in my socks between trays of developer and fixer in the humming quiet and warm red glow of a darkroom.
Trained in the days of film and darkrooms I am ‘old school’ where the true appreciation of an image was to print it—to have it large and on display for continuous joy—where each piece becomes an heirloom, a record of a moment of now that is documented for a lifetime…and beyond.
I often see ‘the shot’ fully formed like a showreel of stills across the screen of my mind and feel a clear ‘creative compulsion’ to capture the vision. I take a fine art approach to portraits and as a writer also, often use the visual language of storytelling to capture something that others have described as soulful. Contemporary portraits, fashion and makeovers are not just about commercial beauty, but about a vision of the self in a world of flux.
My artistic style is often shaped like my writing and my writing like my artistic vision–in a montage style of structure. I am a fan of snapshot/montage writing, and likewise collages—where each image lends to the next and tells a story about that moment, between the camera and the subject/s, or the subjects and themselves. Storytelling through images appeals to my photographic/cinematic eye, and allows me to bring my two most favourite mediums together—words and pictures—with my ‘one eye on the page and all eyes on the world at large’.
I view each photography session and photograph as a separate ‘canvas’ applying processes that best express that image – thus the mix of stylised colour, and b&w.
–Photography is my medium, and photographing people is my calling; each of us is something divine and there’s no one quite like you in the world.