Soundtrack for this interview is “Freedom Blade” by This Will Destroy You.
Words and images are the symbols with which we convey our stories. So often we may be tempted to indulge in the fantasy that we cannot express ourselves as we see others do. Creative expression may intimidate with its contradictory reality of chaos and desire for perfection. By concentrating on the social effects and perceived values of our expression, we forget the integrity of personal narrative, not only for ourselves, but for others who quietly resonate with the same endeavors to speak, to share, and to imagine.
Victor Dima, a creative soul out of Canada, surprises with how intimately it is possible to relate to the emotional journeys that he shares. Born in the city of Craiova, a beautiful city in southern Romania, Dima moved to Canada when he was 14, living now in Quebec’s southern town of Shefford.
Victor Dima thrives on the potential of many visual mediums, primarily graphic design and illustration, and is beginning to venture into the realm of photography. Along with creative writing, he approaches each of these mediums as a journal, with the potential to document and later make sense of the many experiences that fuel creation.
“The projects form themselves organically,” he says. “After a year or two of journal keeping, I sometimes feel I’m left with something I can wrap up and present in one way or another.”
These projects have begun to manifest into concrete publications. Through his blog, Methylmology, Victor Dima presents his photographic and written explorations. Just before he brought Methylmology to realization, he had published his own chapbook, “The Lines of My Resistance“, a compilation of some of the poetry and prose that spoke most directly to Dima’s own narrative.
While the words of someone whose work is already widely celebrated may nurture aspiration and awe, it is sometimes even more encouraging to hear the words of someone just as immersed in the experiential beginnings of a creative journey. How else would we ever know what waits ahead of our first steps? Where else could we find the necessary familiarity that reassures our desires to explore?
I asked about the power of words,
and you said nothing. and when I asked
about the beauty of words you looked
right through me at the clouds in the sky.
I asked you then about syntax, assuming
without it words have little meaning,
and you looked at me and whispered, child,
without meaning words are empty vessels
and without fire you cannot make gold and
it takes both flowers and bees if ever you
wish to know the taste of honey.
and I thought I understood something that day
about the finely balanced elements of your equation,
about a language I once knew — and yet I find myself
still looking for the perfect word to describe
the softness of her skin.
– January 31, 2013, Victor Dima.
WBM: What are the first steps like, when you first feel the desire to experiment with a camera? How did you take the plunge?
VICTOR: I’ve always been a visual person. Photography has helped me with my drawing since art school and I’ve always enjoyed taking photos. But it wasn’t until I realized the viewfinder made me look at things with intent that I started taking it more seriously.
WBM: How do you feel you have evolved, in a sense, since you started approaching photography with purpose?
VICTOR: It certainly teaches you how to see, and that’s what attracts me to it. Photography is a mechanical process, a tool that is very technological by design–and yet it has this ability to affirm your presence in the world. You both see and you reveal yourself through this wonderful interaction with an object. And it leaves a trace of that interaction–a photo.
WBM: Describing yourself as an amateur photographer, how are you approaching your growth at this stage of your craft? What are some of the obstacles you have to deal with, or even create for yourself?
VICTOR: I approach photography with love. The word amateur itself is a testament to that, and I chose it over enthusiast to emphasize my motives. I do it for the love of the medium and I doubt I will ever seek pro status. Which of course comes with a flip side–the main obstacle I face is lack of time. I would love to be out taking photos more, but between work and family it isn’t always easy. Although, it always leaves me hungry for more and that’s a good thing.
WBM: Do you have an idea of how you want to explore your photography as you develop your own skills and vision? Are you thinking of chasing any particular vision or experiment?
VICTOR: I certainly haven’t thought that far ahead. I like learning about photography and exploring the medium as a means to better understand myself and my thoughts. Eventually I feel it will converge with my writing, but for now I’m happy just exploring.
WBM: Where do you look for inspiration, in terms of media? Do you follow the work of any photographers, or have particular publications that you turn to?
VICTOR: There is always a lot to learn by looking at other people’s work, and seeing how photography is relatively new to me there is a whole history and context I’m trying to familiarize myself with. I feel it is always important to understand the context you’re creating in, and photography has a rich–and relatively short–history that is full of treasures. One of my favourite photographers right now is Joel Meyerowitz. He’s a huge figure in photography–liking him is as much of a cliché as liking Picasso–but he talks with such passion it’s infectious.
WBM: Are there techniques that you know of, or perhaps tried, which you find to be especially powerful?
VICTOR: As I become more adept at handling the camera, it allows a certain freedom of expression that you maybe don’t have when you’re still learning technique. I’m not one to obsess over technique, sharpness or image quality however. The most important thing about your camera is how you look through it.