Call of the Wild

Brazilian photographer Arthur Dassan on embracing the unpredictability of nature and capturing it at its most raw and beautiful

Interview Patrick Kasingsing
Images Arthur Dassan

Arthur Dassan

Hello! Please introduce yourself.

Hi! I’m Arthur Dassan, a 29-year old economist from São Paulo, Brazil. I also do volunteer work for an NGO related to education. While I love living in the city, I find going back to nature mandatory. The unfamiliarity and expanse of the big unknown make me feel uncomfortable; it urges me to rethink my priorities and goals, and my life in relation to it. Through photography, I want to capture how beautiful and rich the reality we live in is.

What got you into photography? What fueled your fascination for capturing images?

My dad and I used to hang out a lot to take pictures. My love and interest for photography naturally followed.

While you photograph in various genres, your landscape shots stand out for their vivid hues, framing and textures. What attracts you to shoot nature and landscape?

 I always find myself stunned by nature. The effects of water, wind, and time on natural landscapes often result in photogenic formations that are worth capturing and revisiting.

Lagoon near Lascar Volcano
Altos de Catarpe and Licancabur
The guardian of Salar de Tara

What for you are the qualities of a beautiful image?

Something that I can look at for more than three minutes.

How difficult is it to do nature photography as compared to other genres of photography?

I feel it’s more about: “What will nature allow me to see?” There are times when you only have a day to spend at a remote spot, or when you go climb a mountain, reach the summit, only to find the view obscured by clouds. You just really have to try to make the most out of your situation and encounter with nature and I guess that adds to its allure.

As someone who’s traveled a lot, were there any particular places that left a mark on you?

Atacama Desert was the most mind-blowing place I’ve ever been. That’s why my selection of imagery for the feature are all stills taken at the Atacama.

What will nature allow me to see?

Your photography inspires feelings of awe and wonderment at the beauty of nature. What is your stance regarding environmental preservation and how would you say photography is instrumental for its continued existence?

I love trekking, and it’s nice to see some places garner decent attention and awareness for its preservation, like in Patagonia. I do think that photography plays an important role in building environmental awareness worldwide, but it can only do so much without the support of our governments and businesses. Admittedly, it can be really hard to be optimistic about it. But we should always hope for the best.

Would you have any interesting anecdotes related to your experiences in shooting nature photography?

Climbing a mountain at 4 AM to catch the sunrise using a trail I’ve never done, getting lost in the process, and arriving just a few moments after sunrise had to be one of my more memorable encounters with nature. It was also a good learning experience to plan ahead and not be rash about things. “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” right?  

How do you think nature photography contributes to making the world a better place to live in?

Whenever people find happiness and hope while looking at beautiful photographs of nature—that’s good enough for me. •

Geiser del Tatio
On the road

The story first appeared in the Optimism issue, released in 2017.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *