Arts / Museums

Extraordinary Everyday People: This Arty Dallas Couple Finds the Special in Normal

BY // 03.02.17

Sarah Reyes was hesitant when a friend insisted they attend a Deep Ellum art show featuring photographer Daniel Driensky’s work.

Daniel, son of prominent Dallas society photographer Dana Driensky, had been on the scene for several years prior, helping his dad with the family biz. But Reyes was not a fan of photography — in fact, she didn’t even consider it an art form. Her tune quickly changed when she saw what Daniel captured.

“He does a lot of environmental portraits that were undeniably better than anything I’ve ever seen,” she says. “I fell in love with his art, before I even knew who he was.”

Five years later, the couple has combined two distinct artistic visions — Daniel as a photographer, Reyes with a background in architecture — to start a creative studio called Exploredinary. Armed with various multimedia, including a Sony compact camera, they produce documentaries and short films about everyday people.

Kate Siamro, a shop girl at Spinster Records in Oak Cliff, was their first subject for a work dubbed “Portrait of Kate.” We’re introduced to Siamro’s quirky world as she twirls around the store in a flared red dress and black booties, dancing to Brigitte Bardot’s “Moi Je Joue.”

“We shot the entire thing in a few hours before her shift started at 10 am,” Reyes says. Adds Driensky, “We wanted to exaggerate it and pretend that she gets bored and has a dance party. We take people’s real stories and tweak them just a little, so others can see them in the same light as we do.”

Another video portrait, “True Colours,” shows a woman getting dressed and applying makeup. It’s shot in black and white until the end, when colorful saturation bleeds through and reveals the woman’s olive-green sofa, melon-hued dress, and turquoise hair.

Self-expression, social and political issues, and travel are significant passions (Reyes’ parents are Guatemalan immigrants). In addition to shooting film, the couple crisscrosses the country in search of beautiful people and  places, road-tripping west to Los Angeles, New Mexico, and Monument Valley, Utah (“We love the idea of the American cowboy still existing,” Daniel says) and as far north as New York and Maine.

They’re always on the hunt for the unusual, particularly for what Reyes calls modern ruins. “We like things that are no longer inhabited,” she says. “It’s called urban exploration — finding old buildings and exploring them.”

So far, dozens of remarkable people have been featured in Exploredinary’s projects, though Driensky says it’s not always easy encouraging subjects to open up.

“We fall in love with them, even if we don’t see them again,” Reyes says. “We romanticize who they are and the positive things about them — and that’s what shows in our work.”

Daniel Driensky and Sarah Reyes
Ages: Daniel, 32; Sarah, 30.
Occupations: Multimedia storytellers.
Tools of the Trade: Cameras. Rented SUV for road trips. Social awareness.

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