Ana Dria Explores the Subconscious Through Her Photography

Photo by Adrian Samana
Inxtax Wide Film

The mind can be a mixture of anxiety or joy. Thoughts can overwhelm a person and leave them confused about the state of reality. Sometimes people cope through art. The medium allows many people to make sense of their own mind.

Ana Dria’s photography explores the subconscious in images that are almost dreamlike. She pulls from her own experiences and makes them into art.

“It’s the easiest way for me to visually communicate how I’m feeling internally about myself and the world around me,” Dria said.

The concept of dreams and the subconscious has always intrigued Ana. Her photography helps to explore and make sense of the world. It gives her the ability to express what lies within the confines of her mind.

Lydia, my blood’s running cold 🗡#lookrookie #girlgaze #adolescentcontent

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“I’ve been working through my own personal issues of remaining in touch with reality and dissociation,” Dria said. “If I wasn’t doing [photography], I would be so sad and I wouldn’t be able to work through a lot of personal things without this medium to express myself and make sense of what’s going on in my head.”

Dria is a senior at UNT double majoring in photography and new media. She wants to make photography a career, which has been a passion since she was 11. Dria started following a photography blog at a young age and continued to craft her skill.

A few years ago, she started shooting with a 35-millimeter film and experimenting with chemicals to manipulate the film. This results in a diverse portfolio of images–mostly of people–that have a similar theme of dreams.

Christina Gonzalez, a UNT media arts graduated, directed a short film about a year ago in which Dria was the main actress. The two became close friends and Gonzalez is inspired by the vulnerability of Dria’s work.

“Her photography is really dreamy and nostalgic,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve gotten to understand her photography better after becoming friends with her because I can have a deeper understanding of what the symbolism behind the photography means to her.”

Dria described her photography as her own exploration that she shares with the world. The meaning is always tied to what is going on with her life at that time.

“Showing my art is like wearing my heart on my sleeve,” Dria said.

Throughout her time in the media arts and photography programs at UNT, Dria made a lot of friends with people of similar interests. Dria normally features her friends in her art.

Isabelle Martinez, a media arts junior, has been close friends with Dria for a year.

“She is constantly putting out whatever emotion that she is thinking,” Martinez said. “She is always creating and it's always nice and refreshing to see her work.”

Dria became close friends with Claire Watkins through mutual friends. Watkins graduated from UNT in December of 2017 and is a painter. She said Dria’s work shares similar subject matters with her own.

“I love her use of color and her use of the body, and I find that really inspiring,” Watkins said.

Dria finds people fascinating in general and tries to have intimate conversations with her subjects before going on shoots. She says that any shoot is always a collaboration between her and the subject.

“It really helps shape how I photograph them,” Dria said. “It helps integrate my personal connection with that person through my own ecstatic [experience].”

Dria said one difficult aspect of her work is making sure it comes from her own ideas and not something she has seen. She tries to stay off the internet to avoid this problem.

“It’s easy to subconsciously replicate what you see all the time and lose your own vision or your own voice.”

Currently, Dria is experimenting with video and digital forms of art, even though her main focus will always be photography.

She also has an internship as a contributing photographer with Austere, a Dallas-based magazine that focuses on fashion, music, culture, and politics.  She has worked with Austere since January 2017.

She sees the internship as an introduction to the magazine world and a building block for her future career.

“It's great experience,” Dria said. “I’ve been able to meet many really amazing creatives and people through it.”

Most of Dria’s work can be found on her Instagram page (@reveurluna) and she occasionally submits images to different magazines.

Header image photographed by Adrian Samano
Header image layout designed by Mateo Granados