Today we share the work of Irene Zóttola. Her portfolio was one of the selections in the 2017 Call for Entry.
Would you please tell a little us about yourself.
I was born in the Madrid of the eighties. It was a time of an expansion of economic optimism. I studied as I worked growing up. Unfortunately, I later found myself suddenly immersed in an economic crisis that has changed the world.
My father is from Buenos Aires and I have always been accompanied by a feeling of nostalgia for the unknown because of his capacity for telling stories. My mother is from a little town of La Mancha, Spain, and in her way of being, and from my grandmother, there are many characteristics that are reflected in films like Volver. Strong and fierce women. I guess I’m a combination of both.
How did you get started in photography?
At home there were always a lot of photo albums with pictures taken by my father. Also, I think that all the cinema and the books that were at home and the paintings have had an influence on me. I realized that I really liked taking pictures when I was traveling around Europe with some friends when I was 18. When I started university I took a black and white workshop. I fell totally in love at the moment when the pictures that I had taken appeared in the developer.
Would you Share with us one image (not your own) that has stayed with you over the time?
An old picture of July 9th Avenue, in Buenos Aires. It’s have been in my room since I was a kid. I could not find a reproduction of the same to show you. It has a poem from Horacio Ferrer written on it that speaks about the essential things you have by your side at the time of your death.
Which photographers and other artist’s work do you admire?
That’s a very difficult question. When I started to study images I admired a lot of Sally Mann’s work. I also like the work of Francesca Woodman, Alberto García-Alíx, Duane Michals, Nan Goldin, Anders Petersen, Rinko Kabawauchi, Israel Ariño, Roger Ballen, and Antoine D’Agata. There are so many photographer whose good work I admire. It’s impossible for me to list all of them.
What has been your most memorable experience as far as your photographic work is concerned?
When I met the group, Slow Photography and started to be a part of the collective. They are my mentors now, they are such wonderful photographers that work with passion, knowing every detail and technique of darkroom work. I’m so lucky to be part of that group.
Please tell us about the portfolio of work you submitted to our call.
δέντρο means tree in Greek, and its pronunciation is like the word “inside” in Spanish. This work is about the things that each one has inside, playing with the forms (some of them more clear, others darker) and also with the text that unites them. It’s a personal intimate voice about what’s in the deepness. To take the pictures I entered in the middle of nature. In the darkroom I completely entered into the process with the liquid emulsion.
What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson?
Probably one picture that I took when I was studying photography during a holiday while visiting my parents in Lisbon. A person is getting down from a train, the total image it’s completely unfocused. When I was going to shoot, I moved the focus, just to see what happened. The result was so magical for me. It was a proof about how much the photograph can show us another reality.
What makes a good day for you creatively speaking?
In one way, it is when you have an idea and think that it’s going work, but in the end, it is when you make it real in the darkroom, when you feel that you discovered something while you’re working on it. Also those days when you are shooting and you’re feeling in your heart that what you are doing is good. It is like being in love. It is a process, so you never know until you develop it. Good days are those were you want to continue.
Do you have any pieces of equipment that you find essential in the making of your work?
My camera, and the darkroom.
What’s on the horizon?
I would like to work completely in analogue photography, so I’m going to try it. I hope it will be possible, I know it’s not easy. We will see.
Thank you Irene.