phantasmagoric abstractions

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Aisha Diandra / photographer. artist. designer. likes to dress up & pose, not a model. horror aficionado.
This blog is for my art, expression, inspiration, ramblings & everything in between.
I like the strange & spooky, beautiful & sensual, surreal & grotesque. contradictions fascinate me.

(the photos above are my own work.)


Passion, Love, and Hate.

An acquaintance & I were having an angry, heated conversation over a negative topic we felt the same about. He asked to stop since he was getting too riled up & had to meet a client soon where he needed to be positive. 
I said to use that passion and apply it positively. 

Somehow it turned into a whole elaborate analysis of passion in relation to love and hate…(my comments are the indented/block quoted text)

"Hate and passion can get mistaken, but I’m pretty sure you can’t turn hate into passion? Or positive passion? Can you?"

"Well, what else is angry make-up sex then?"

"Sorry, it is hate. Hate is still part of passion, so they can switch around, but hateful thoughts into positive energy is hard."

"Hate requires passion.

Simply disliking someone is just like simply liking person. Like ‘Meh he’s a dick but it doesn’t get my gears going strong…’ or ‘Well she’s a nice girl but we’re just friends.’

Add passion and it’s like….’He’s a fucking dickhead asshole who should be anally raped by a fire poker!’ or ‘She’s the most amazing girl in the world, and means the world to me!’”

"I used to have a lot of sex with girls who felt that first way about me. It works."

"A lot of people say hate and love are almost identical because both are such passionate emotions. And both hating and loving someone require more effort and devotion."

"Like you said, it’s such a lukewarm feeling of ‘yeah he’s a nice guy’…it won’t get you laid or remembered, but if you get on their nerves they will remember."

"Like the haters who spend so much time stalking my page then harassing me. They probably obsess over me and my life and my posts as much as a creepy internet stalker who tells me they love me and think I’m super amazing.

I don’t like a lot of people but I have better things to do than obsess about their lives and bitch at them anonymously over everything. So it’s not really a passionate hatred. More of a ‘you’re dead to me’ emotion.

Passionate hatred is almost flattering because it’s like ‘Wow me and my life are THAT much of an issue to you that I affect your life when I really shouldn’t!’ 
It’s like having that person you’re so in love with you can’t stop thinking about.

Whereas ‘you’re dead to me’, ignoring the person, cutting them out of your life, etc, is more of a low blow.
It’s like ‘Dude, you’re so worthless, I’m not even going to bother acknowledging your existence. You mean less to me than what I flushed down the toilet this morning…at least that had a purpose in my life.”
Haha…there wasn’t that much point to that post…but I kind of liked how elaborate that ended up being and felt like sharing… :p

I hate thinking about my New Year’s resolutions…

…because I tend to fail at keeping them. However, 2012 has been such a headfuck of a year, with half of it involving me feeling like absolute shit, feeling too upset to leave the house and too anxious to do anything. 

I want to try my hardest to grab 2013 by its metaphorical balls and do my best to not let depression and anxiety get in the way of doing things.

By the end of the year I want to be confident with how I look, or at least comfortable enough with my body that I can fake confidence all the time, instead of just every now and then.

I want to give up some of my bad habits or at least seriously minimise them, and completely revamp my diet and eating habits so I can get skinny, healthier, fitter and less flabby…less processed food, more raw food and veggies.

On that note, I’m going to aim to run more, because as much as it’s a mission to get me to go for a run, I find it therapeutic after about 10 minutes, and I can keep going out of psychological motivation. I *WILL* have a body I like more, and I know it’s going to cost more time and effort on my part.

I really need to start caring less about things that aren’t that important, and stop stressing about things that aren’t that bad.

I need to stop wasting time and being more productive with my free time, even if it’s just reading a book or doing sketches, as long as I’m not spending hours browsing facebook.

That’s a fuck lot to commit to. But I suppose a lot of them overlap each other…so…we’ll see how I go…

Bring it on 2013…

Things I really fail at:

Saving money.

Cleaning my room, but more so keeping it clean.


Dieting. (Always end up having an epic binge day that throws me off the healthy eating wagon…)

Listening to my own reasoning & logic.

Listening to my own advice that I give to people.

Making any consistent self confidence last longer than [current record!] 2 days.

this week was terrible for the most part, but I promised myself I’d do a weekly positive review, so…

Things that didn’t suck this week:

1. I got 3 out of 4 shoots done for my Dyscrasia series, and I did some shots for my Psyche (working title) series.

2. I finally got round to updating my artist page on facebook, and have received pretty good feedback on it, as well as people volunteering to model for my folio work.

3. Pseudoephedrine + codeine cold & flu meds.

4. Was too sick to attend Thursday’s pole class, so I went to one on Saturday, and managed to get on the pole upside down by myself, even though my mounting wasn’t perfect. 

5. Restored some of the fun & silly music from my youth onto my iTunes. Oh, pop punk & nu metal, you remind me of the days when my worst problems would be commonplace in my life today.

6. 70 people on Facebook liked the photo of my backside from Carpe Noctum, haha, cool, my bum must be decent?

I can’t think of much else…and only a few of these are very significant…but at least I tried!

Totally fell off the diet & fitness wagon this week, but determined to get back on it tomorrow. Still a little unwell, so I won’t be able to go back into exercising too hardcore just yet, but I just need to get back into the habit!


I’m even blocked from commenting and liking things on facebook.

REALLY big thanks to whoever reported my image. I hope you get severe food poisoning, or amoebic dysentery for at least a week. If I’m going to have a shitty week that you’ve just made worse, I hope you have a horrible week too. 

Instead of reporting out of focus nipples that aren’t in any way sexual, why not report all those photos of girls in skimpy tight clothes posing sexy? I guarantee you they are more sexual than the barely nude I posted. 

So angry. This week needs to look up soon or I may lose it. 

this really isn’t my week.

I know I complain a lot & get stressed over little things, but this week I think I have every right to, but it’s just so much shit & I’m sick & therefore too tired to bother complaining about everything. 

on the plus side, I will be knocking out an entire series of photos for my final folio, so that’ll be good. 

My brain can be a jerk to me, but sometimes it’s pretty badass.

I’m actually quite proud of my folio concepts, because they are so well researched & thought out, and pretty damn intelligent and awesomely connected to each other. 

However, as smart as I feel for coming up with them and making them work together, they’re a real bitch to write about and explain without essentially writing a freaking essay. (I haven’t even begun to talk about how I plan on organising & presenting my work…)

On the plus side, I guess I’ll just ramble on about my concepts during tomorrow’s assessment until the lecturers get overwhelmed by my ideas and tell me to shut up, and just give me a good mark for knowing my shit, and obviously spending hours researching & finding connections between psychology, new age spirituality, and ancient medicine based on bodily fluids. Yep. Here’s hoping!

I always learn things the hard way…

…and this is why I’m a pessimist, cynical, and untrusting of human decency most of the time.

That said, I did say I’d challenge myself to write out all the good things that happen to me each week. So here goes.

1. I was introduced to the amazing vegan menu at the Cornish Arms by Brock, and we had a nice dinner & catchup, and I had a godly vegan parma.

2. I got positive approval and encouragement from my lecturer for my new/changed concepts for two of my photo series for my final folio.

3. I have organised all 4 shoots for one of my series, so once this week is done, and I’ve done all those shoots, that’s one whole series completed. 

4. I got to see my lovely Krissi, whom I hadn’t seen for a while and uber missed. Happy hangs were had.

5. I had one of the best soy chais I’ve ever had with Krissi before heading back to Melbourne.

6. I did two pole classes in a row, which was painful, but I felt pretty damn good about it.

7. $5 pesto pizza. 

8. ….the world doesn’t need to know about this one haha… :p

9. I managed to go meet someone new on my own, without going into an anxiety/panic attack. I was close to one, but managed to go have fun anyway. Go me. 

10. I caught up with Kim, Jesse, and Seb, and we watched Disney movies while they kindly let me use their washer and dryer to get through my monstrous pile of laundry.

11. I spent the day with Mel & Damian, after not seeing them for about 6 months!? Awesome catchups were had!

I think a big part of my motivation for eating healthy & exercising regularly is so that when I have a fatty bingey day & pig out, I won’t feel as bad about it haha.

Today I had facon and cheese for breakfast.

A big ass felafel kebab for lunch, which I smothered in dijonnaise. 

Had a big toasted bread roll with waaay too much margarine.

Then had an epic parma, with salad & chips/fries, plus eggplant fritters/chips. I also had a bit of my friend’s ‘fish’. 

I haven’t even exercised today.

…and you know what? I don’t feel that bad about it, because it’s one indulgent day, and I’ve been pretty damn good before then.


I think I’ll have some more wine, now.  



Gerard O’Connor photographs a variety of creative portraits in the category of fashion, advertising, editorial, and more fine art or conceptual portraits. In general, I would say that Gerard’s work is quite extravagant, and sometimes even over the top and controversial; as a fan of David Lachapelle and his elaborate portraits, I see some similarities with their work, and as such I really love Gerard’s massively intricate, busy, elaborately staged group portraits, and their accompanying portraits containing one or two subjects.

These are his exhibition works, the more fine art focused portraits amongst his other photographs. I love art that is provocative, but still tasteful and well done, which is probably why I love Gerard’s personal work. It is controversial, grotesque, and disturbing, but still beautiful and done in such a way that it is reminiscent of epic classical paintings that have been given a modern and edgy twist.

I think part of what gives these elaborate images so much appeal is their subject matter and how its been depicted. Gerard O’Connor chooses subjects or themes that are rather serious, risqué or taboo, or possessing a negative connotation, such as Nazis, battle scenes, or a very dark side to a Catholic reform school. Some of Gerard’s subjects are not necessarily controversial, but he photographs them in such ways that they are full of life and personality.

Gerard’s photographic murals have been described as being “tableaux vivants”, a historical theatrical term meaning “a scene presented on stage by costumed actors who remain silent and motionless as if in a picture”, which I think quite accurately defines these elaborate portraits, especially since the term was later used to describe paintings of the nature. Gerard O’Connor obviously spends plenty of time on pre-production for his intricate personal projects. He collaborates with stylist Marc Wasiak to determine casting, direction, and lighting, and they create their elaborate sets themselves, often from scratch. Gerard must pay close attention to his use of lighting, which perfectly sets the atmosphere and mood of the scene, and sometimes adds to the realism and believability for some of the indoor scenes. The lighting may not always be perfectly accurate to what the light would be like in some of these situations (particularly the outdoor scenes), but it adds drama and parallels some of the lighting present in the classical tableaux vivants paintings, such as those by William Hogarth, whom Gerard has claimed is one of his influences.  
Hogarth engraving
more examples:

The talents in his photographic scenes are perfectly casted, and I think the mix of more exaggerated facial expressions and poses with more natural ones works well to blend the realistic qualities with the over-the-top busyness of the situations. The impressive large-scale images are specifically choreographed on location and in the studio, they involve many different characters that are perfectly posed to express emotion and action despite being completely still.

What I find interesting is that the motionlessness of the characters and the entire portrayed scene being seemingly frozen actually brings these scenes and characters to life; presumably because they are so detailed in the inclusion of elements, and the characters are so expressive despite being static. When looking at Gerard’s images, I can imagine them as an actual scene in a film, I picture the figures moving, I feel as though I can hear the noises that would be heard in the scene. There is a sort of raw realism to these images and they are so full of action and contain so many elements I can really immerse myself into the photograph and just look at each portion of the image on its own and imagine what is taking place, and just experience it in my mind. I would really love to see Gerard’s photographs on a large scale, as I’m sure it would really increase the intensity and liveliness of the overall image and the scene taking place, I would assume it would be quite a fun, mentally stimulating experience.

I hope to one day be able to achieve images of Gerard O’Connor’s calibre, as I’ve mentioned previously that I am a big fan of extravagant staged portraits with amazing set designs that are so lively they can almost be heard. Looking at his work I can clearly see the importance behind extensive pre-production and planning, and also that it takes a lot of work, and most likely money, to produce such works of art, which unfortunately I am not capable of at this point.



I love his work, and yes that ^ is my analysis on his images. ;)



A photographer and director born in Italy in 1965, but moved to Canada at 2 years old. Floria Sigismondi originally began her career as a fashion photographer, but began directing music videos after being approached by The Revolver Film Co. production company.
She is now known for writing and directing The Runaways; she has also directed music videos for Katy Perry, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Bjork, The Cure, Christina Aguilera, The White Stripes, Fiona Apple, Sigur Ros, Muse, Interpol, Leonard Cohen, and Incubus; as well as directing commercial for Old Navy, MAC, Adidas, and Eaton’s. She has had solo exhibitions of her photography and sculpture installations worldwide.

Her work tends to be very vibrant and colourful, using colours that complement each other, that are intensified with high contrast to create rather surreal videos that are somewhat disturbing from the shaky and jittery camera movements, shifts in focus, and other distorting camera movements and effects. Floria Sigismondi would describe the sceneries she filmed in as “entropic underworlds inhabited by tortured souls and omnipotent beings”. 
From her dark, surreal style, she gained popularity from other musicians, particularly Marilyn Manson, and she is now known for having directed Manson’s early videos, and essentially helping define his image and characteristic.

I love the intensity and vibrance of Sigismondi’s work, especially her videos, which I find very visually captivating and magical, as well as being quite unique and creative, and a little bit controversial sometimes — I could imagine any scene or shot from any of her videos would work perfectly on its own as a still photograph. She definitely has a distinctive, quirky style that deserves attention.
Even her lighter work is just as beautiful and surreal as her darker work:

See more of her brilliant work:



pimping out more of my blog posts for my uni class blog. ;D



Akif Hakan was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and frequently travels around the world to do his work, giving him a beautifully vivid, colourful portfolio with models of various ethnicities and appearances.

He is currently based in Hong Kong, after residing in Miami, Florida for some time. He is quite experimental with his photographic technique and style, combining his own personal aesthetic with whatever is currently popular in the visual art world. He is quite inspired by Asian films.

What I love most about Akif Hakan’s photography is how his fashion and editorial work is just as colourful and artistic as his personal work. I love the tones and colours in his photography and how natural and candid some of this personal work looks. A lot of his images have a very filmic quality, and he often shoots in what looks like hotel rooms and bedrooms, which creates a certain atmosphere and mood of intimacy, but with a sort of solitary, gloomy aspect.

I find Akif Hakan’s work quite emotional and personal, especially his series of environmental portraits that often involve nudes in their bedrooms, hotel rooms, and other personal spaces. The mood created with the colours and tones adds to the intimacy of the images, which makes the viewer feel connected to the subject in the photograph.

Many of the designers Akif Hakan works with for his fashion and commercial work tend to be the more avant-garde, alternative fashion designers. Their unique designs and his creative and vibrant style work together perfectly to create stunning, vividly colourful works of art. 

He has been featured in several magazines and has been listed in the Top 100 Fashion Photographers in the world, and has won awards for his photography as well. He is currently represented by Galerie Jacob Paulett in Paris, France as an artist.



for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, one of our assignments for our Cultures of Photography class is to create a blog where we write about a rather specific theme. my group’s theme is colour & portraits. here’s one of my entries. check out more of mine & my other group members’ posts at :D

that awkward moment when…

That awkward moment when drunkenly give my number to someone on new year’s eve, and they actually text me today, and I’m like… O___O” what do?

first time I give my number to someone without them asking for it first, and I can’t deal with the fact that they actually text me. 
/fail at life.

I’m so awkward.