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 Occult Rituals Staged Against Norway’s Stark Landscape
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it's not that graphic.... But beautiful imagery.

I love art. Be it christian art or dark arts. When someone's passion pours out from their mind to any canvas, it can just be awe-inspiring.

ÍSS (2016), courtesy of Daria Endresen

[NSFW] Nude Occult Rituals Staged Against Norway’s Stark Landscape

Still frames of silent horror, steeped in Scandinavian mythology and replete with Nordic rituals: welcome to the world of Daria Endresen. The Norwegian artist's earlier work comprises series upon series of ghostly self-portraits. More recently, however, she has turned the camera onto others, mostly women, who are mostly in the nude and frozen into symbolic postures.
These scenes are set either in the middle of starkly beautiful terrain or against nondescript backdrops. Invariably they are, as the artist herself describes, “cold, silent, and isolated.” Endreson’s photography career started early, around the time she received her first DSLR camera from her father. At the beginning, “my main point of interest was landscape photography,” Endresen tells The Creators Project, “but then I discovered Russian digital artist Karina Marandjian, a.k.a., Daunhaus—her work simply blew me away, and she was basically the reason I took up Photoshop.”
In addition to Daunhaus, Endresen has been influenced by a great many, and a great variety of artists. In the “Inspiration: Influences: Friends” section of her website, for example, Endresen nods to the 15th century German painter Hans Memling, Frida Kahlo, and the Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nerdrum. She also links to many of the sites of her contemporaries and collaborators, such as nihil, Eric Lacombe, and Anja Millen.

The Rite (2016), courtesy of Daria Endresen

After finding Photoshop, Endresen shifted her focus. “Living outside a tiny village, in the middle of nowhere, I had no subjects except for myself,” she explains, “and I suppose that’s why I started experimenting with self-portraits, which later on acquired a more personal and deeper meaning to me.” She continues, “Self-portraiture was a way to deal with a very personal experience I was living through at the moment, and as cliche as it sounds, it was some sort of a therapy for me, the only way I knew how to cope. When I finally got over it, the need to be the main subject in my stories gradually disappeared.
I can still relate to my characters but it’s much less introspective.”

Severance (2011), for nihil, courtesy of Daria Endresen

Throughout the stages of Endresen’s creative development, one thing remains a constant: Norway, in all its cold, silent, and isolated glory. “I’ve always felt a strong connection and an incredible sense of belonging to this land,” Endresen says, “I think it’s vividly reflected in my visual universe. There is also a certain dark side to all the Nordic countries, I tend to explain it by severe climate, lack of light, remoteness and perhaps the general reserved nature of the people—I suppose all of these have influenced me as well.”

Distant Shore (2015), courtesy of Daria Endresen

Endresen turns the severity and remoteness of her country and the darkness of her Nordic spirit into the essential elements of her images, and of her methodology. “My shooting conditions are rather harsh (cold, rain, snow, mud, you name it) and I am quite demanding, that’s why I prefer to work with people I know from before—I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable torturing complete strangers.” Plus, this “torture,” as she explains, can last up to five hours. During this time, the photographer shoots with a Canon EOS 5DM2, variant lenses, and a tripod. “I make all the props myself,” she adds, “and since my characters are almost always nude and blindfolded, I don’t really need either a stylist or a MUA [Make-up Artist].”

With the 100 to 500 images yielded at each shoot, Endresen returns home to her computer and “hours and hours in Photoshop.” “I have a similar routine for every image,” the artist explains, “namely collaging, basic retouch, color correction and toning, and sometimes texturing.”

ÞRJÁR (2015), courtesy of Daria Endresen

“My quickest image has been finished in about five days. But as a rule the process is long and painstaking: things don’t work the way I’d like or I may even abandon the image and come back to it months later (or drop it completely). My latest work, Iss, was shot in March, but I was able to finish it only by the end of August.” In addition to several projects, including her ongoing Nordic ritual-inspired series of which Iss is a part, Endresen also has her own jewelry brand, Thrjar. “I take care of everything, including the brand’s visual representation,” says the artist, “it has a certain connection to my art but is a less complicated and more photography-oriented version of it. I find it very relaxing to alternate between the two.”

Darkwood (2014), courtesy of Daria Endresen

Untitled VII (2012), courtesy of Daria Endresen


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