Dark Academia: An Exploration Through Photographs

What is Dark Academia?

Dark academia is a visual and aesthetic trend that grew in popularity amongst the young people on the internet. The visuals and experiences included in this aesthetic are part of traditional college life. It is not about partying, trips, tea at the canteen stalls, or bunking class, although they are traditionally what is characterised as the ‘college experience’.  It romanticises academia, the act of writing essays, reading literature in libraries, passionate debates with strangers, and participating in study groups suddenly becomes a pleasure. 

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The ‘dark’ in dark academia refers to the atmosphere of the trend. Think of dark, angry clouds and the gentle cold breeze before a heavy shower, an empty highway lit by your headlights on a foggy night, candlelight casting shadows across your dinner table, and a dimly lit library at midnight with very few people in it. The images that these bring you is what dark academia is about. 

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Photo by Javier Grixo on Unsplash

Dark Academia I Photo by Javier Grixo on Unsplash

While the trend began as a literary movement, the aesthetic has grown into a cultural phenomenon. There is no better way to explore this than through the photographic brilliance of a few photographers from India

1. Mimi (papenathys on Tumblr)

Mimi (papenathys on Tumblr)

2. Vishnu Raveendran (@vishnu_whiteramp)

3. Kochigrams (@kochigrams)

4. Neptune (@neptunemuses)

Why is Dark Academia taking the internet by storm?

The resurgence of Dark Academia as a trend started at the beginning of quarantine as schools and colleges shifted to the comfort of our own bedrooms. Students felt the need to simulate an environment where they could engage in academia without actually being a part of it. The aesthetic is a visual treat and there have been multiple studies that advocate for the importance of surroundings in study and education. 

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When students couldn’t go to class anymore, classes had to come to them and Dark Academia simply made the shift a little easier. 


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