At first I mistook them for sisters. I met Diana and Dasha while looking for good coffee and happened upon a modest looking café, where they worked. Equal height, each face strangely reminiscent of the other, and that detached allure.
They turned out to be friends. I would see them both at least once a day – their serious faces, always intense, never making a small talk.
I must admit, our discussions at first had little to do with art. It was only when I asked Diana about developing film rolls that I discovered she was an emerging photographer. For five years she had been documenting her friend Dasha, which resulted in the intimate series of portraits ‘SHE’.
My relationship with Diana was slightly different. I had come to know her quite well. She had told me in intimate terms of her coming of age with Dasha, and the the urge she had experienced to document it. Diana had started creating these images as a project for herself and had not expected them ever to be seen by anyone.
While looking at portraits of Dasha, I couldn’t help thinking about Diana, what she communicated about herself through these images. The series felt strangely like self-portraits. Yet there was no acting, no hamming, no posing. On some level Diana’s vision was working in the same direction as Cindy Sherman’s or Sarah Lukas’s. Except Diana projected herself onto the multiple personas of her friend. Instead of trying various makeups and set-ups, Diana carried herself through impersonations of her close friend.
Like Peter Pan’s shadow, are close friends our dissociated reflections? Do they become our extensions into the world? Is their journey our own inverted Homeric drift? ‘SHE’ is an intimate series of portraits as well as a skein of contemplations on Friend and Self that slip away from sight.
Diana May is from a rising generation of self taught photographers. She works in analogue photography and investigates the borders of Self through the documentary series of her close friend.
More about Diana and her work here: