The days of colour tinting photos goes back to the Victorian age, where monochromatic photography was the norm and photographers aimed to make their images more realistic by hand colouring their negatives or photographs. But Shae DeTar's work isn't about realism. It's surreal, haunting and otherworldly.

DeTar began developing her artistic style when she was a teenager, using pictures cut out of magazines to make collages and painting over them. She didn’t actually start taking her own photos until around five years ago and began painting them like she did with the collages when she was a teenager, creating those elements of fantasy that are so prominent in her work.

 

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Unlike a lot of classic surrealism, like Dali, which plays on shape and objects that are completely out of place, DeTar primarily uses colour to make her work feel like you might have just walked onto the surface of another planet. The use of nude women in most of her work plays perfectly into that otherworldly feel – it makes the date and origin of the images very hard to place. You’ve stepped into another world, or another time (that’s apparently inhabited by a lot of naked women).

There’s also something special in the size of these pieces. They’re all massive prints – often between 4-7 ft – and hand-painted, creating layers of exaggerated colour and texture. It adds a charm that is often hard to find in photography now; in an age where nearly everyone owns a camera and you can print a photo as many times as you want at almost no cost, a photo that’s been hand-painted has a certain uniqueness and charm.

In an art world that is oversaturated by images of manly men and of women depicted for the male gaze, it’s refreshing to see something that is weird, wonderful and feminine, without being over-sexualised, intrusive, or contrived. Yes, there are a lot of naked women in her images but it doesn’t feel sexual, it feels slightly vulnerable but it also very natural.

 

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Women are included as part of landscapes and scenery – they blend in with the landscape in terms of shape and form but the contrast of bright colours makes them impossible to not notice. These women are often part of the landscape of the image, occasionally only parts of their body, but somehow it doesn’t feel like they’re being used as props or objects – a balance a lot of art seems to find hard to maintain.

Even if you’re not a fan of the surrealist style there’s definitely something beautiful to be found in DeTar’s work. It’s a refreshing, strange, weird, and wonderful view of ethereal women portrayed in a body of spectacular and original work that feels both alien and strangely familiar.

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DeTar exhibits internationally and so her work can be found all over the world. Right now she’s at the Johanssen Gallery in Berlin, displaying a range of her work from the past few years.

She has been featured in various publications, such as Italian Vogue,The New Yorker, Vice, Dazed and Forbes to name but a few. She can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Artwork: Shae DeTar

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Izzy McLeod

Hey I'm Izzy, an Ethical Fashion, conscious travel, general life blogger, and Astrophysics student from the UK. I love exploring new places with my camera in hand, eating all the vegan food I can find and I'm always at home by the sea.

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