DDiarte’s compositions of flesh and muscles can be compared to Bosch’s or Michelangelo’s religious works:opulent human forms in orgiastic shambles,a intangible mess. DDiarte epitomise the absolute art of photographic composition, manipulating geometric forms and the body, playing with space and volumes. Their meticulous technique can be spotted everywhere and manipulation is their motto. Their stories are recreated and materialised at their will, as if by a strange aesthetic law, a hedonistic quest for perfection, with the only desire to annihilate indifference by provoking the most apathetic minds. As if art were born out of the combination of feelings, willpower, creativity and imagination. The profundity of their work is the stage for both truly human stories and altered mythologies-- an ode to nature, the criticism of consumer society, love, vice and virtue. Their models are their specimens, some sort of personal and unique prototypes that contribute to the creation of their ideal body type, inspired by painting.
Diamantino Jesus and ZéDiogo, commonly called DDiarte, their stage name, were both born in Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago where they now live as a couple. They showed great interest for art early on, excelling in painting and sketching, as well as science and technology. Their talent is now notorious and has gone beyond frontiers. Together since 1999, the two artists have created DDiarte, which was initially dedicated to painting, with the goal of organizing shows-- both personal and collective-- and of painting frescos in churches. In 2003, they got interested in photography and in digital retouching. Without any formal training, they’ve created absolute works of art which won them international awards or were bought by collectors or museums. The human body is DDiarte’s focus, the two creators sometimes ending up both behind and in front of the camera. The seductive manipulation of colours and of organisms tell sarcastic, caustic and satirical stories that lead our imagination towards a mythological world, a subversion of reality.
What would you say is your contribution to photography?
Within the context of art’s historiography, the use of photography and more specifically of retouching photographs, is nothing new. We do however aim to somewhat innovate, in terms of the themes on which our work is based. Regardless of the fact that our main source of inspiration is mythology, up-to-date themes or others that are the simple fruit of our creativity, still remain full of details, of symbols, of images, and make an attempt to captivate, but mainly to stimulate critical thought in our viewers. While some of our work can be seen as satirical in a globalized world, yet still full of differences, other examples can be seen as purely scenic, only to be contemplated at will. If some of our pictures shout out against discrimination, at the same time they pay indelible homage to beauty.
How does your partnership work, and how did it start?
It happened some years before we started doing photography; we had an atelier of painting, which is our studio today. Our partnership is very simple: we do everything together, there is no specific tasks assigned, we both take the photos depending on the disposition, we both work on the post-production, and of course we always exchange ideas about what we are doing!
How do your images come to life?
It depends on the type of photography we’re doing. When talking about those images with many models, including nudes, they can take months, sometimes years to finish! First comes the idea or the message we want to transmit, then we do the brainstorming: everything goes on a piece of paper, we sketch some drawings, do research about mythology in history books, look at classical paintings, the internet, etc. Then we see how many models we need and the position they must have for the photo-shoot. We choose them and contact them. We explain everything we need and we do the photo-shoot for each model separately, because they don't like to do nudes with other models at the same time. This means we must be very careful with light direction in every shooting,because the final result must give impression that they are all together! But during all this process, new ideas arise and the initial project can grow till we think it’s enough. After all this, we start the post-production process with Photoshop; this takes a really long time because everything must be perfect: light, shadows, colours etc. We love putting in small details because they tell so much in our images!
What is your vision of nude in your photography, and how do you use it?
We use it in a very natural way, always being very careful not to make it look like porn!The nude is an excellent way to transmit anything because people pay attention to it, whether it be because of the bodies’ beauty or because they are shocked by it, people always look upon it with love or hate, never with indifference.
- Meet DdiArte in Normal Magazine issue 4 -