Sara Dalla Guarda is a Toronto-based artist with a BFA in Visual Arts from York University. She was born and raised in northern Etobicoke in a quiet suburban residential area. Her original passion was baking and sugarcraft, as she began as a self-taught cake decorater from the age of 12 and starting her own small baking business from home. Currently, she focus mostly on photography and installation art.
“I have been passionate about photography since I was in high school. I was born not too long after disposable cameras were invented in the late 1980’s and early on in my adolescence, cameras on cell phones were becoming much more common, convenient, and quickly advanced into what they are today – high-quality cameras on devices everyone carries. During my time in high school, our photography program was sadly on its way out of the school curriculum, and I had the privilege of exploring it during its last year. I was able to learn the basics of digital photography, but what I enjoyed the most was my experience learning about analog film and how to develop film and make prints. Even now, in my final year at university, I’ve worked with multiple mediums; drawing, sculpting, painting – but I am always drawn back to photography as my main medium of work.
What draws me in and keeps me returning to that medium is the tangible and meticulous format of analog along with the manipulable and convenient format of digital photography. While shooting, I focus more on aesthetic rather than narrative. I do not believe that all art must have context, and I find at times that after shooting, I start to see unintentional narrative in my work that I did not see while taking the photograph. Although there may not be similarities throughout my work, or a consistent aesthetic or narrative, I believe that each piece carries its own individual uniqueness – whether it deserves any merit or not is up to the viewer and what they take away from the piece. The reason I believe each of my pieces are unique is because not every photograph – unless in a series – is visually similar to previous works.
Personally, I feel the need to photograph what I enjoy, and what I find aesthetically pleasing. I believe that I do not intentionally put narrative in my artworks since the narrative does not always have to be the primary subject to evoke emotion. For example, Josef Albers’ colour exploration through his Homage to the Square series does not carry narrative, yet evokes thought, discussion and emotion with colour, lines and shapes; and I believe my artwork is quite similar to that whereby the viewer can either see my artwork for what it is or attach their own personal meaning or narrative to it. Since all art is subjective, I believe forced narrative or forced emotion is unnecessary in most cases.
So far, my work has taught me to notice things in life that most wouldn’t. I acknowledge the textures of the sidewalks I walk on and bark on trees I walk past. I recognize lighting situations in rooms I sit in and think about what emotions it carries. Photography has taught me to analyze the world as an artist would and share my vision with others.”
-Sara Dalla Guarda