Daria Panichas

About

“I dwell in Possibility” — Emily Dickinson

“About Last Night.” Madrid, Spain

Nothing beats a day spent prowling around streets or creeks, under sun or sleet, looking to capture fleeting or elusive qualities in the people and places around me. I like mutable moments, such as the swell of a crowd or the quick flicker of an animal’s eyes, as well as humble things—a frost-crusted weed, a mushroom in the sun—that often escape notice but with the warmth of attention will yield whole hidden worlds.

My process is simple, my cameras light and unintrusive. I shoot in manual mode, use only available light, and work within the given conditions. Sometimes the light is wonky, everything’s in flux, my lens isn’t ideal, and/or my subject is wiggling; 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, breathe, look for possibilities, wait for my gut to say yes, and press the shutter button. This practice is calming and meditative whether I’m contemplating a creek or navigating a street protest; the world slips away even as it’s brought into sharp relief.

I have a 1% rule: if I take 200 photos and two come out well, that’s a mighty fine day. And if nothing does, that’s fine too. The most satisfying photos are those which I never saw coming but happen just because I took the time to be present.

To distill my images into their richest expression, I have custom-designed a range of monotone filters that are based on early 20th-century silvertone, sepia, and cyanotype photography. Yet aside from these filters and some light 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.