A KALTBLUT exclusive. Photographer Dana Tolesh teamed up with models Laye Okereke, David Miles, and Adaobi for this sublime editorial. Dana Tolesh was born in Kazakhstan and moved to Bulgaria in 2006. She studied in the Russian Embassy school along with other students from post-soviet countries. This project is about diversity and the obstacles in life as a foreigner among natives.
It wasn’t and isn’t easy to be a foreigner no matter where you go, even in the country you grew up in when you were raised abroad and look different. And so the project aims to show a world through the eyes of someone who doesn’t necessarily fit in – but also show a world in which everyone can be at home.
“1. Do you know what makes the trees in autumn so beautiful? Diversity. You’ll say it’s bright colours, but that’s only half the truth. The trees are just as bright in the summer, but they’re uniform. When the days suddenly start getting shorter and there’s a frosty touch in the morning air, what makes us marvel at those brilliant monuments of nature is the sheer multitude of shades and tones that paints a greater whole. If only we all had eyes to also see it beyond the trees. 2. We tend to focus on our differences a lot, even if it is to appreciate them. But in the process, we forget about the things that unite us. The heartwarming qualities that transcend all barriers and run much deeper than even the most striking contrasts. Compassion. Kindness. Love. The things you can see in another’s eyes, no matter what colour or shape they have. 3. There’s something divinely spectacular about embracing who you are, regardless of your surroundings, circumstances and the expectations you’ve been coated in. It lights up that inner fire, and the more confident you grow in celebrating what makes you distinctive from everyone else, the more it radiates through into the world. Allow yourself to shine.” Words by Violet George