Diana Schenkel

Read below the interview our Art Director, Finn Schult, had with the artist!

1. What lead you to begin making this body of work?

I really enjoy the changing textures of decay.  From fruits to animals I think there is something beautiful about the enrichment of all this energy going back into the earth. I find it incredibly odd that people don't take the time out to even notice the things that are continuously fading away. Our families, our food, our resources, all of our comforts. The only thing constant about life is change in my opinion.  I consider myself a photographer. I've been shooting since I was a young teenager.  Doing the #rotseries gives me a reason to take a photo everyday and also forces me to slow down, document the process, and remember that not every picture has to be so thought out.  

2.  How long do you see yourself continuing to create images for Daily Rot?

I plan on doing the daily rot series for as long as I can.  Meaning I'll probably eventually move on to vegetables and other things.  I'd be seriously interested in watching meat fade away into the dirt.  I bet the colors are striking.

3.  Does the concept come from a more scientific or aesthetic-based point of view?

The process and concept definitely comes from a few places.  The nature of documentation like I mentioned and definitely for aesthetic reasons.  I think it's soothing to watch a watermelon disappear or blood oranges change into all these fascinating colors before it takes on the color of the Earth in the dirt.  

4.  I know that you're also a model. What prompted the switch to the other side of the camera?

A model?  Thank you!  I wouldn't call myself a model per-say... I've been a photographer for so much longer.  All of my photography is by me unless otherwise noted.  I consider myself more of a self portrait Artist than anything but I still like photographing close friends.  I used to be really into creating art nudes and I still love doing so but I only work with those I know.  I prefer to keep my art work mainly myself.  Panic disorder is something I struggle with on a daily basis and self portraits and other art is how I deal with life.  I am not sure I'd know what to do without a camera. I also write poetry and you can find my one and only book I self published on Amazon by looking up my name.  

5.  What are you thinking about starting as your next photographic project?  

Since Spring has started and all of these beautiful flowers are out and growing, I have been dripping different things onto flowers and photographing people's hands with them.  My favorite so far has been a peach iris with dripping whipping cream on top and photographing the cream as it's splashing out.  I've also used syrup, honey, paint, and anything I am interested in seeing drip.  I also post those on my Instagram if you're interested in seeing them.  I feel like I don't necessarily have series, but things that are always consistent in my work.  Decay, flowers, nudes, scenery, taxidermy, handmade masks, dreamy like surreal vibes, and I hope a realness that shows how close I am to my subjects.  When you view my work you'll see the same people over and over again.  I have over 200 publications on vogue.it as well and I think that is one of the best places to view some of the best of my works from over the years. 

6.  What was your favorite moment photographing and why?  

I have so many favorite moments... Here's a few:

One time I caught a vulture taking off the side of a building right when it's wings spread with a polaroid land camera on expired 669 film and it came out perfect.  

On my Birthday a few years ago I wanted to take a self portrait with my friend (nude). I wanted to photograph it from the top of a bridge.  This was also a busy area.  My girlfriend of 10 years held the tripod over the bridge with the camera attached and the timer going.  I think I ended up with maybe 20 shots before the Park Rangers caught us.  We almost got a ticket but didn't.  That was stressful but the outcome was amazing and worth it.  I just sold a print from this particular day and it always makes me smile if someone purchase it because whew it was hell to get.  

By far though the most memorable for me was a few years ago we had birds migrating through Ohio and they were going to one spot to congregate .. They were there at the same time everyday for 3 weeks and I went everyday to see them swarm.  I got some of my most favorite images I've ever taken in my life.  I felt like I witnessed an event so rare and so perfect that it was only luck and the Universe that allowed me to have that moment so many times during that month.  

7.  What would you like people to feel from your work?  What do you hope to convey?  

I want people to feel anything.. feel something when they look at my work.  I do self portraits often because I feel like that is most real.  I'm not planning, I'm not behind the camera, it's just me in all it's honesty and imperfection.  I feel like if I take photos somehow I'm proving that all of this was real and ensuring a way for people to never forget me when I'm gone and I hope that is felt.

If you would like to see more of Diana's work check out her website here, and if you would like to follow Diana on her adventures follow her on Instagram at dianamsphotography