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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ina Sotirova: Synchronistic Style

Ina Sotirova gives a thoroughly unique look to all of her work by letting the individual concept and the project dictate the visual style

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Ina Sotirova has traveled throughout the world since she was a young girl, and her uniquely cosmopolitan upbringing has given her a distinctive insight into the many cultures that she portrays with her lens. The “Embracing the Goddess” collaboration with a New Orleans body painter uses delicate scrutiny of the balance between feminine and masculine forms in still images that border on performance art.

A professional photographer’s style is an evolved and refined reflection of his or her persona as demonstrated in choice of subjects, lighting, methods and perspectives. It has been said time and again that every photograph is ultimately a self-portrait of the photographer. Yet the work of newcomer Ina Sotirova seems to defy that concept, with a breadth of approach that, being filled with the potential exhibited by the subject matter, leaves little room for her. Whether she’s creating a visual interpretation of a concept, artistically pairing the staunchly real with lively metaphor, journalistically reporting about lifestyle in the back streets of Amsterdam or altering her perspective to comment on change, Sotirova dances with her subjects until she shares their beat and rhythm and becomes a part of the story instead of its recorder.
Her love of photography was born of the art and culture prevalent in Barcelona and fed by her continued aspirations of effecting positive change.
Born in Bulgaria, Sotirova is the daughter of very international parents—her father was a diplomat and her mother works for the World Bank. Sotirova grew up moving between Sofia, Paris and London, completing her last years of high school in Bethesda, Md. It’s no wonder that, once on her own, Sotirova continued to travel. She studied political science and economics in Montreal, held an internship at the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and eventually studied Spanish in Barcelona. She was certain what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to change the world. But during her internship, she became disenchanted with the bureaucracy of politics and realized that her desires to positively affect the world couldn’t thrive in such a stagnant structure. It was then that she went to Barcelona and was intoxicated by the art and culture that surrounded her. When her semester ended, she couldn’t bring herself to leave the city.

“I wasn’t ready to leave,” she explains. “There was so much more to explore. And what better way to explore it than with a camera?”

Her love of photography was born of the art and culture prevalent in Barcelona and fed by her continued aspirations of effecting positive change.

With such a varied international background, Sotirova was open to and aware of the world around her. She started taking photography more seriously and enrolled in an intensive certificate program. The camera, along with her love of writing, seemed to offer an honest way to positively affect the world. She applied for a grant that sent her to Nicaragua to study sustainable living, where she inundated herself with the culture and embarked on an extensive body of work. But the one month that she was able to spend in the country left her wanting more. After some odd jobs and working as the managing editor of a local edition of The Economist’s quarterly lifestyle magazine Intelligent Life, she felt stunted. On a whim, she moved to Amsterdam with a friend and started Cosmusart, a grassroots collective intended to stimulate creativity and expand consciousness. Though she had trouble breaking into the art scene in Amsterdam, she serendipitously started working on further projects of her own.


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