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Dasha and Mari - Mastering the psychological portrait

by Editor Marius Cinteză
Published by  Head Editor  Yvette Depaepe, the  10th of September 2021

A good photograph is like a rich bouquet of flavors… it makes you wish to return to inhale that smell again, to enjoy it once more!” – Dasha and Mari

Dasha and Mari are twin sisters photographers from Kiev, Ukraine, excelling in fashion, psychological portrait and artistic nude domains. Their unique style is remarkable through the cinematic representation of the feminine grace, thus creating their sophisticated visual stories where fashion and art imbricate sensually.

Dasha and Mari were finalists of the Hasselblad Masters Awards in 2014, fashion nominees of the Photography Masters Cup 2014 and shortlisted photographers in the Fashion Category of the Sony World Photography Awards 2012 (London UK).

Please join me in discovering more about Dasha and Mari and their stylish works in the interview below!


'Before the show'


Dasha and Mari, thank you so much for accepting the invitation for this interview! To start, I would kindly ask you to tell us shortly about yourself and when and how did you start your photographic journey?Frankly speaking, our way to Photography wasn’t something spontaneous, as we used to put alluringly sensual ink lines on a paper revealing silhouettes of woman’s beauty since our childhood. Everything we did and create now – our personal perception of life and our vision to a woman in particular. Inspiration comes from imagination. An artist may see much more with the eyes shut…


'Hotel Noir. Bath' 


For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?
It is an expression of ourselves, our inner world, the way of our thinking, our perception of beauty and character in personality. It is our life!




What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
Telling you the truth, life is full of different situations which influence you. As artists we have a fragile internal world, we absorb reality with all its sharp angles and transmit our feelings in the art that we create.




Your works are awarded and admired in exhibitions and top publications worldwide. What do you think is the secret of your success?
Yes, it is true! The secret is inside us… two of us. Our style, our imagination and ability to express what we feel in the form of art. 




Fashion photography is a prominent area of your interest. Where do you find inspiration for your fashion shootings?
A good photograph is like a rich bouquet of flavors… it makes you wish to return to inhale that smell again, to enjoy it once more. We can be inspired by not traditional beauty, meaning the beauty not typical for common taste. For example, it can be a rare exotic plant, an unusual place or atmosphere, as well as vintage clothes or a good film. We admire haute couture designs; it requires hours of hand work and creative thinking. 


'The cat'


You work with models and they are an important part of the story you want to convey. Building a trust relationship with them is paramount. How do you choose your models and what would be your most important advice in this regard?
Models and other personalities that we work with are heroes of our cinematic photography stories. Of course, a trustful relationship is a must. We communicate with our participants and express the energy they all feel it and perform the way we need for our creations. 




The success of model shooting sessions depends heavily on the model skills, on one hand, but also on your “stage director” skills, on the other hand. How do you communicate with the models, to make them fit in your story and to get most of the mood from their performance in front of the camera?
In our case art direction plays a premier role for setting the scene we want. We use to control the process from the beginning till the final result.


'Hotel Noir. Smoke'


How do you split your tasks and responsibilities during photo shootings? How do you manage to collaborate effectively together?
It is a natural way of cooperation for us. We are twin sisters and understand each other without words. We work as a team. We both care for art direction, photography, styling and post-production. Originality and quality are essential in our work.


'Royal Tea. The kiss'


Your fashion photography is remarkably different, beyond the classic boundaries, perfectly combining old and new elements to create surreal, cinematic-like frames! Why are you so drawn by this photography type?
It is true. Our photography is original and storytelling. It contains a dose of cinematic context. We express ourselves the way we feel, through our creative vision.


'Leisure Class'


What is your most important advice for the beginners that would like to follow your way? What would be the required qualities of a successful fashion photographer?
Each person has his own creative journey. It is unrepeatable. It is important to listen to yourself and your internal voice, if you have something to say or express, to show to this world. It is not about reading art books or studying in the academy of arts (by the way, we graduated from two universities of art). But our style in photography formed beyond university walls. Among the important qualities for the fashion photographer, we can mention a sparkle of creativity, self-organization and ability to notice necessary details and convert them into unique creations.


'Hotel Noir'


Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what gear you use (camera, lenses, lighting)?
As artists we prefer medium format film cameras such as Hasselblad, Pentax 67. Among digital cameras we like the Nikon brand.


'High Class'


“Psychological portrait” is also one of your domains of expertise. Can you please explain this concept in photography?
We like to work with people, not only models. Psychological Portrait is the way to depict a human soul, character, particular features, identity, individuality and a certain inner world through our vision, feel of aesthetics and this world.




What would be the challenges in creating your outstanding art nude works? How do you manage to remain creative but tasteful?
We create in the way we feel… that is the answer.


'French Kiss' 


Can you please tell us something about your workflow? How much effort do you put in the post-processing stage of your photography?
It depends on the project. If it is an art project the post-production may take longer as there is no time limit like in commercial ones. As a rule, we work on several projects at the same time.


'Philosophy of Sin'


Who are your favorite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?
Frankly speaking we haven’t mentors. As artists, we used to draw in our childhood, then we started to create still images with black and white film. Oftentimes we depicted our invented stories, playing with light and shadow. Among the masters of photography we appreciate works of Norman Parkinson, Bruce Weber, Horst P. Horst, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts and some others. 


'Leisure Class'


The photographers usually have their own favorite piece of work. Can you please shortly present your favorite photo, the story behind it and explain why it is special to you?
We have many good photographs and it is difficult to highlight our favorite one. But we will name a few. For example, the black and white image with two ladies wearing hats, a portrait from the series ‘Leisure Class’. It is a timeless classic image that represents elegance, class and style. The afternoon on that day of shoot was really hot and the way to location – long and sandy. We used tight retro style outfits in leather for our models and set the scene in front of the water. The atmosphere of the image submerges the spectator into a deep reflective mood…


'Leisure Class'

Another work among our favorites is a lady in a fountain with a teapot in her hands – ‘Secret Garden’. Sensual bodylines of a woman in a contrast morning light, also a black and white image. It was late March and the snow was still around. Cold air and dazzling light. As we used to work on open-air locations most of the time, there are always some passers-by or just curious people. Despite all these, the model conveyed necessary expression and emotion under our direction of the scene.


'Secret Garden'

To keep the balance, we will mention the third photograph – ‘Royal Tea’. A portrait of a woman in a black tight-fitting dress with retro hairdo in the style of the 40s. Her intense gaze invites the viewer to puzzle out the story… and follow her.


'Royal Tea'


Dasha and Mari, since we have almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or future photographic projects you would like to be involved in.
Well, our future plans are about some interesting commercial projects in Europe, as well as art projects for upcoming exhibitions such as Photo London 2021 and other grand art fairs. Currently we prepare some of our art prints in limited edition for art collectors and art galleries. Additionally, we plan to publish our book with selected photography works, which will cover 12 years of creation in art photography.


'The Game 2'



'Royal Tea.  Sweets'



'Taste of summer'



'Pink Tennis'



'Mon Amour'



'My Love'



'Summer opium'






'Cinema.  Earring'



'Blue butterfly'






'Vice city'





Next level photography! Thanks for sharing your sublime work!
Thank you for appreciation. We always put special ingredients into every creation..
Wonderful inspirational work
Thank you for compliments, Colin!
beautiful images! Great article!
A book of feelings... senses... stories. Thank you
Many thanks, Marcel!!
Excellent work, great article!!
Thank you, Raceala
Multumesc mult, Elena!! :-)
Amazing images and wonderful article
Dreamy diary of life... and fantasy. Thank you
Thank you, Kieran!!
Wonderful work and great article! Well done!
Our pleasure to share our thoughts and creative vision.. Thank you
Thank you so much, Marius!! ;-)
Marius, Many thanks!! :-)
I watched with admiration..
We appreciate it
LASCIVIOUS + OBSERVED | Impressive work, outstanding photography!
Fresh notes of Art.. we breathe with it. Thank you!
Terrific images and creative mood. I’m proud of following you. Thank you very much
Thank you Federico!
Wonderful work, full of soul, Dasha and Mari! I'm a big fan, dear friends. Thank you so much for your fine collaboration and for sharing your excellent images on 1x. My very best compliments and cheers to you... Yvette
Thank you so much for your words and appreciation of our art photography work, dear Yvette. We bring light from our souls to paint the world with beauty.