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Posted Jun 21, 2010 in Arts, Decor | 0 Comments

Irene Suchocki: Poetry for the eyes

It’s easy to fall in love with Irene Suchoki‘s photographs. They’re mysterious, ethereal, and achingly beautiful.

Born in Toronto, Suchoki moved to Montreal in 2001, and has since had her work featured in quite a few places, including Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2008 and 2009, Country Living Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, and the Canadian Geographic Magazine.

Her work has also been shown at the GenArt & St. Ives Sensory Spa and Exhibition at the Sundance Film Festival, and was used on the cover of Nairne Holtz’s short story collection, This One’s Going to Last Forever.

Suchoki is also available for weddings, recently starting Le Love Photography. Focusing more on the small, special moments of the day instead of traditional, awkwardly-posed shots, she translates the beautiful intimacy of her fine art work to the wedding photos. If you have upcoming nuptials, I highly suggest giving her a call.

The minute I saw Irene Suchoki’s photos, I knew I had to share this amazing local gem with all of you, and luckily, I also managed to get an interview with her:

YourKloset (YK): How did you get into photography?

Irene Suchoki (IS): I first started about 15 years ago. I bought a film camera and learned how to use it prior to taking a three month trip through Europe. However, I only really took photographs when I traveled as I had the notion that there was nothing interesting to photograph close to home. Then, five years ago, I opened up a flickr account and that began to change everything. Suddenly there was a community of people who were interested in photography to interact with. I eventually bought a digital SLR and my lens collection began to grow. My photography interest turned into an obsession and then into a full-time career two years ago.

YK: Do you have any formal training?

IS: No. I am self-taught. However, I do take workshops from time to time. For example, last year, when I decided to get into wedding photography, I attended a workshop with Cliff Mautner, a brilliant American wedding photographer.

YK: What are you favorite techniques? Do you prefer digital or film?

IS: I tend to work mostly with my digital SLR (the Canon 5D and 5D Mark II). I just love the immediacy of the process (from feedback, to uploading and processing) and the complete creative control I have. However, I love the soft and ethereal quality that you get with certain types of cameras and film, so I’ve begun experimenting with Polaroid cameras and film. It’s a happy medium because it’s film, yet it’s also immediate. I suppose I’ll need to work on patience a little if I foray back into other types of film.

As for techniques, I have an almost a visceral reaction to beautiful blur, so I’ve been experimenting with different ways to create blur in artful and interesting ways. I prefer doing this in-camera through controlling the aperture or by using special lenses (the Lensbaby is one example), as I generally don’t like the look of blur that has been added post-production in Photoshop.  I do, however, use Photoshop to manipulate colors and add textures. I work with many layers and like to amuse myself by thinking that, in some small way, I’m painting.

YK: Do you have any favourite cities to shoot in?

IS: My favourite city to shoot in has to be Paris. I first visited Paris when I was in high school (I belonged to the French club) and I have been there three more times since then. It has managed to retain that magical quality it had on that first trip. So being there with a camera in hand is exhilarating and exciting. There is so much to photograph… From the grand vistas, to the small details, to the people… All with such a beautiful backdrop. I don’t think I could ever grow tired of it.

YK: Any favourite subjects?

IS: I love to photograph trees. I just love how they change from season to season, the forms, the shapes, the colours. What’s not to love about trees? I also find the ocean very inspiring as a subject. There are moments of such peace and calm, and then there are moments filled with such awe-inspiring movement. The color palette is always shifting depending on the time of day and the weather. I can shoot for hours and be completely absorbed in it.

YK: What work are you most proud of?

IS: I’m quite proud of my series “Paris: City of Love”. I had envisioned this series months before I actually left for my trip to Paris in the summer of 2008. With this series I wanted to express my love for Paris as well as the idea of Paris as the world’s capital of Love. So many people love Paris. It’s almost a universal emotion. I used the Lensbaby for this series… A special lens which turned points of light into heart shapes. I was so happy that the photographs turned out perhaps even better than my hopes and expectations.

YK: What do you try and achieve with your photos?

IS: I strive to create an appreciation of and an emotional connection to the beauty and wonder of the everyday world around us by seeing the “ordinary” in a different way.  My photographs are generally not literal depictions of the world and I often feel as though I am encountering another reality with my camera. Sometimes I feel like an explorer arriving on the scene, looking around and wondering, okay what’s REALLY here?  This helps me create a deeper connection to and love for my environment and I hope it does the same for those who see my photographs.

YK: What’s next for you? Are you experimenting with different media?

IS: I have many ideas that float through my head, so it’s a matter of deciding which ones to pursue. I’m becoming more interested in the idea of working on series of photographs, rather than single images, which is what I’ve mostly been doing. Through a series one has a chance to do some interesting things such as explore a theme or tell a story. I would also like to get my fingers dirty and experiment a bit with mixed media.

Interested in Irene Suchoki’s work? Visit her website or Etsy shop to order prints in a variety of sizes, paper types and frames, all for wonderfully affordable prices. If you’re in Montreal, her work can also be found at Artisan Impact (209, Rue St. Paul Ouest), a gallery in the old port. There is of course also her blog, and her facebook page.

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