Dasa Wharton is a local photographer, whose impressive portfolio includes lifestyle portraits, corporate and commercial photography, wedding photography and creative wall art. Dasa’s true passion, however, is in capturing ballet dancers, both on and off stage, where her work has led her to be commissioned by industry leaders in photographing some of the highest regarded ballet dancers in the world.
“I decided to specialise in ballet after seeing one particularly amazing performance of the Czech National Ballet while visiting my parents in Prague. This was in 2013, and what followed was a mixture of perseverance, thousands of images taken at the studios of the Czech National Ballet, as well as a big portion of luck. I soon met some contacts who believed in me and my work, offering me the opportunity to work for them. Since then, I have been privileged to photograph companies including the English National Ballet, Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, as well as some of the best ballet dancers in the world, such as Sergei Polunin, Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta.”
Dasa has not always specialised in photography. With a varied professional career spanning several years, Dasa credits each and every one of her endeavours with having taught her the skills required to do what she does today.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason, and whatever experiences you may have in life, you can apply them in your future work. My journey to photography was a long one; from my Master’s degree in International Relations and Finance, to qualifying as a Certified Accountant, to obtaining a degree in Psychology, studying Dutch language at the University of Amsterdam, to working in the finance industry for several years, to now focusing on my passion.”
“The wonderful thing about photography is that it’s so varied, but the principles you develop are universally valid. For example, when I photograph a backstage story for a principal dancer of, say, Birmingham Royal Ballet, I have to work very quickly, discreetly, in tight a space, with low light and with lots of people and props around. I need to be flexible and always ready to capture important moments in theirpreparation. I need to know when to speak to the dancer, to help her relax and when to become invisible so I don’t disturb her when she is “in the zone”. When I photograph a bride preparing herself for her big day, I use exactly the same principles and my training from ballet photography is really useful. An understanding of psychology is a very important part of being a good photographer. It is essential to create a good rapport with people you photograph, so my experience from working in finance is an added bonus when I’m working for corporate clients.”
When she’s not photographing ballet dancers, Dasa’s main focus is on creating documentary-style imagery and lifestyle portraits for local corporate and private clients, supporting the Jersey Child Care Trust with her work, as well as curating her wall–art series.
“The island life and close proximity of the sea is a constant source of inspiration for me and is the theme of one of my wall–art series, of which I produce limited edition prints in a number of media. Pieces from this series have been exhibited in CCA Galleries International and can be seen in commercial offices, Jersey Heritage properties and in some private homes, including Government House.”
With an exciting future ahead of her, Dasa is planning a number of interesting projects for 2020, but being naturally cautious, she could not share specifics with us. Instead, Dasa said,
“As the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “You just have to live and life will give you pictures.”
Want to see more of Dasa’s work? Be sure to pick up a copy of our December/January magazine for our special ballet inspired fashion shoot, as photographed by Dasa herself!