I met with photographer Daria Huxley last Thursday outside of a cafe in the Upper West Side. As she walked up to greet me she looked absolutely beautiful, no makeup, just her authentic gorgeous self. As I gave her a hug I realized that her natural beauty reflected the raw and stunning style of her work. Her elegant aura makes her just as much of a work of art as her photographs.
Kat and I had originally met Daria at an art show in the Lower East Side. From the moment we met her we knew she would be perfect to interview for the magazine, but at the time we weren’t sure why. As conversation went on it became incredibly evident why we felt such a pull to bring her into our circle. Her words and her soul proved to be just as eloquent as her aura and beauty. Everything that she said was not only awe-inspiring, but it resonated with the vibe and mission of #thatneonlife entirely. So get ready to glance into the life and style of Miss Daria Huxley, you’re in for a treat 😉
Daria has been taking photographs for 7 years; however, like most of us with passions her intrigue with photography goes back way before she started taking pictures herself. She has always been highly visually oriented and has enjoyed looking at photographs since she was a small child. Throughout her adolescent and early teen years Daria took many pictures with her small digital camera until the age of 17 when her uncle bought her a professional camera. That was when things really took off. She had a very natural evolution from hobbyist to professional photographer while living and working in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia – they have a vibrant and welcoming art community that really supported her from the start.
Shortly after completing a master’s degree in Marketing, Daria landed a job in Belgium, working for Weleda, a Swiss natural beauty company. She is now living in NYC, working as a graphic designer at the Weleda branch here, while juggling a photography career. She loves living in NYC and the vibe really matches her own. So far it is her favorite place to live out of the five countries she has lived in.
When asked what her drive in pursuing photography is she says, “I would like to show the beauty of the world – in nature, people, architecture, etc. I want to show everyone that this world we live in is so wonderful, and that life is worth living and it is SO beautiful.”
Daria’s work speaks for itself, and it definitely does show us the beauty of the world. It embodies a raw elegance that captures the essence of a scene while portraying it in a beautiful way. She loves shooting many different categories such as architecture, cities, landscapes, nature, events and people. In order to capture the realness of her subjects she doesn’t use many editing techniques other than simply cropping a photo or sometimes tweaking the exposure a bit. Her goal for the look of her photos is to be natural, calm and colorful. She strives to have harmony between the colors and composition of every photograph.
The time, care and pre-planning of her work contributes to the amazing quality of her photos. Before setting up to photograph a place, she researches it and explores it to feel out its vibes and to calculate which angle is best. Her portraits are among the most stunning of her work for this very reason. She shoots portraits with an artistic edge, capturing each person’s aura and story. They are very thought out, natural and as unstaged as possible. Before a set, she talks to each model and gets to know them on a personal level. Her reason for doing this is to make them feel completely comfortable and create a bond, which in turn makes for a more authentic connection that is evident in all of her portraits. Once she gets to know them and their backgrounds, her and her models discuss the angle of the story they want to tell, how they wish to look, and finding the perfect place to express their story. When you look at her work it is evident that all of her thoughtful attention and preliminary processing has a profound impact on the final image.
When asked what inspires her most she says, ” People, especially passionate people who love what they do, doesn’t matter if they are a doctor, teacher, artist, whatever it may be -anyone who has found their passion and place in life.”
Daria’s spirit is tough and bright, and nothing can stop her. When she was younger many people told her that what she was doing wasn’t serious, and wasn’t going to make her any money, but she never gave up and fought for her passion. Her family and friends make everything possible for her-their support means the world to her. It is her driving force. Her first trip living abroad really empowered her to accept and enjoy the diversity of cultures and people. She says “The farther I go, the braver I get.” Her only setback is that she deals with being a “perfectionista” which stems from an intense pressure to perform in Russian society. But it was this same intense pressure that motivated her. She says “I always had to fight for everything in my life, I thought I had to be the best and if I am great then I will be able to travel.” That’s exactly what she did, and through all her traveling she has many beautiful pictures to show for it.
Many of her pictures have stories behind them. There was one particular picture that is special to her, and she was gracious enough to divulge the story with us and let us share it with you here. This picture was taken at a very picturesque spot in Paris, crowded with tourists at the time. She had been lugging her equipment around all day, setting up on a trip-pod, finding the perfect angle and waiting for the perfect lighting to take this picture when someone bumped into her knocking her camera over as it was snapping the picture. Her initial reaction was frustration and disappointment. Her inner “perfectionista” temporarily felt shaken by this, that is until she took a look at the photo. The result of this mishap was a striking double eiffel tower with distorted lights and it is absolutely beautiful, one of her favorite pictures now. A great example of how both in photography and in life, sometimes the most beautiful things can happen by pure chance, and that sometimes the things that we hate losing control over are the very things that bring the most beauty into our lives.
Before finishing Daria’s amazing interview, we asked her what advice she would give to our readers, and this is what she said:
“I would like to encourage people to travel, to go and get out there to find themselves, to see new places and meet new people and to have the courage to pursue their dreams. There is no reason to be afraid, new experiences enrich us so much. I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, but you have to be brave and pursue your passion. Spend every minute of your free time working on small steps and it WILL happen. We do have control of our own happiness.”
Daria’s life, mind and work are all as beautiful as her soul. Daria is the perfect example of how when your passionate about what you do, there is nothing that can stop you and even your setbacks propel you forward. I hope that you all take Daria’s advice and pursue your passions! If you do, it could be YOU we are writing about soon! 😉