Stephanie Diani is a New York-based photographer who has graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Classical Archaeology. Her outgoing personality has attracted many clients, including discerning and talented editors, art buyers and art directors. Inspired by the confidence and sassy attitude of aged women catwalking at the Miss Exotic World pageant held in California, Diani created the photo series DAMES, capturing elder women in beautiful lingery to prove how age is no barrier in the world of burlesque. For more of her works visit www.stephaniediani.com.
Whom do you look up to?
Irving Penn. Alex Webb. Cartier-Bresson. My grandparents on both sides, who all came to the US on boats with no guarantees and no backup plan.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
I’m not sure where it came from, but I’m really stubborn. That’s helped. A lot of people have said no to me over the years, I’ve just never listened. Or I’ll listen and then eventually disregard the ‘No.’
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I am a visual storyteller, driven and passionate about what I do and what I’d like to do, generally funny and relatively intelligent.
What made you want to become a photographer?
My older brother liked to take photos, and I adored him. It seemed like a natural thing to want to do. I took a detour through Classical Archaeology in college.
What was your favourite project and why?
Every project presents unique challenges and rewards, and solving each visual riddle is extremely fulfilling for me. It’s hard to pick a favourite. I did really enjoy shooting The Family of Mann and Scenes From a Marriage. And the ladies in the DAMES project were awesome to work with.
How do you define creativity?
I feel like creativity is the process of looking at something — life, a problem, a story — from an entirely unexpected angle.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
Maintaining the balance between satisfying a client and satisfying myself, when those two things are not necessarily the same. A trust fund would have helped.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all.
Also a quote from poet Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
If you’re truly attached to what you do, and put yourself into your work, be prepared for some heartbreak.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
That a trust fund would have helped.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for photography?
Creative writing. In my “what else would I do” daydreams I’d get an MFA and write literary novels in a small house someplace woodsy, with a fireplace, and a river rock fence around a small herb garden. But I’d still probably take photos.