Daria Panichas makes art because it’s a joy, and likes to explore beauty, transformation, stillness and possibility. Through unconventional light, lines and contour, her photographs distill natural objects, landscapes and streetscapes into ambiguous forms; freed from the familiar, they morph into new worlds that invite the viewer to explore and wonder, just as she did. First drawn to photography through the street and documentary work of Sebastião Salgado and Josef Koudelka, her current inspirations include early 20th century Japanese American photography, the light installations of James Turrell, and the philosophical approaches of photographers Sean Tucker and Douglas Beasley.
Daria has a bachelor’s degree in art and philosophy, with honors in painting, from Lafayette College. She also has a master’s degree in clinical social work and a professional certification in web design from Boston University. She has long been a hospice volunteer, and is dedicated to learning Spanish. Her photography education has been self-directed, through classes, workshops and interactions with fellow artists.
Nothing beats a day spent prowling around streets or creeks, under sun or sleet, looking for fleeting or elusive qualities in the people and places around me. I like odd angles, mutable moments, and small, humble things that often escape notice but with the warmth of attention will yield whole hidden worlds. I equally enjoy afternoons spent in my studio, finding ways to photograph a simple object in ways that will transform it through light, form, and unconventional perspectives.
My process is simple, and my cameras are small and unintrusive. I shoot in manual mode, use only available light, and work within the given conditions, without props or gear. Sometimes the light is wonky, everything’s in flux, or my lens isn’t ideal; other times it’s a stellar still moment that all but guarantees a perfect shot. Either way my task is always the same: slow down, look for possibilities, wait for my gut to say yes, and press the shutter button.
To distill my images into their richest expression, I have custom-designed a range of monochromatic filters that are based on early 20th-century silvertone, sepia, and cyanotype photography. Yet aside from these filters and light post-production editing, I do not manipulate or “Photoshop” my images in any way; what is shown is what was there. The results are sometimes clean and direct, sometimes reflective and abstract, but always aim to look viewers right in their mind’s eye. Even in the midst of movement I seek to convey a stillness, one that may then make you go still, just as I did, dwelling in that possibility.