Oye Diran describes his distinctly elegant photographs as “conceptual with a degree of minimalism and fantasy.” The New York City-based photographer captures refined images of women dressed in pastel gowns of billowing tulle and surrounded by wide swathes of blush fabric—like in “Maktub,” an arresting photograph (shown below) that recently won a first-place LensCulture Exposure Award.
Whether a profile or wider, scenic shot, Diran’s work frames solitary subjects who often are closing their eyes or looking away from the camera. The photographs highlight the grace of the female body without veering into the sensual. “I try to convey the many truths and beauty of people of color, empowerment, and life ideologies in my images,” he tells Colossal.
Diran begins each stylized photograph, which he often shares on Instagram, with a mood board of notes and inspiration from nature, art, and movies. Choices about the color palette, models, poses, props, and scenery reflect that spirit. “I can come up with a message I’m trying to channel to my audience and then build the imagery that conveys that message. Inversely, I can create imagery without any intended message, purely from a mood or expressive creativity where interpretation is left to the audience,” he says.