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Photographer: Barbara Anastacio

Inspired by Diane Arbus, this 24-year-old photographer has an eye for beautiful landscapes and honest face expressions, as seen in her 'Northern Winds' series

London-based Barbara Anastacio, the daughter of an artist mother and an economist father, grew up divided between sunny Portugal and gloomy Belgium, making her childhood “always permeated by contradictions.” Her love for photography began after attending a Diane Arbus exhibition, and it has continued since. Photographing her subjects with an incredible directness, her images appear up-front and overly saturated akin to something you’d expect from a Martin Parr portrait. Whether it be on a sunny beach or a snowy pavement, Anastacio’s photographs have the ability to hold your gaze. Through them you get a real sense of character and surrounding, almost as if you are there in that precise moment. Anastacio’s dexterity as a photographer is also quite remarkable; shooting portraiture, landscape, fashion and documentary style photography all to equally high measure, on both digital and film.

Dazed Digital: So what are your photos all about?
Barbara Anastacio: 
Barbara stands for 'foreign woman' anywhere in the world. As a photographer I am also somewhat a 'barbarian' in the sense that I like to think of everyone and everywhere as a foreign place: unknown, mysterious and thrilling. That permeates all my work, whether it’s a personal project or a fashion commission.  

DD: You shoot quite a variety of different people in various locations, who do you most like to photograph and where?
Barbara Anastacio: 
I am fascinated by subjects who have a strong sense of “belonging”, be it to a place, to a time, to a style or just to an idea. And I prefer to shoot in habitats, natural or artificial, places with resonances, stories and marks as opposed the sterility of a studio.

DD: We love your ‘Northern Winds’ series, what inspired these and your use of double exposure in them?

Barbara Anastacio: These series stem from a recent trip to Scotland. As a southern 'bird' I had never experienced summer in such a chilly environment before but I decided to migrate with the northern winds this time. The landscape stunned me as really beautiful but I couldn’t help longing for a warm beach. Thus, the use of double exposure expresses that sense of longing that comes from being somewhere - the ambiguity of a landscape as a place where you are and a place where you wish to be.

DD: What camera/film do you prefer to shoot with and why?

Barbara Anastacio: I like the easiness and versatility of a 35mm film camera. Although I also shoot digital, I prefer shooting film because I’m more precious with what I photograph. And I like the element of surprise!

DD: What would you say is your proudest achievement photographically?

Barbara Anastacio: It’s a film roll that was never developed...

DD: Whose work do you most admire and why?

Barbara Anastacio: Weegee, Robert Frank, Seydou Keita, Lartigue, Stephen Shore, Nan Goldin… for their sense of spontaneity, visual barbarism and an intrinsic human consolation.

DD: What are you working on at the moment?

Barbara Anastacio: Besides commissions, I’m working on a series of “contra-visions”, i.e., funny contradictions of life portrayed through the combination of exclusive images.

DD: What does the future hold?

Barbara Anastacio: Hopefully lots of photographic “barbarian” invasions.