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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

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In her “Glamsterdam Burlesque” series, Sotirova explores the seductive appeal and saucy humor of exotic dancers journalistically, both onstage and behind the scenes.
In contrast to the subject, style and feel of “Tree of Life,” Sotirova elicits an entirely different reaction from the viewer with her series on the burlesque scene in Amsterdam. A body of work rife with color, movement and a saucy affect, “Glamsterdam Burlesque” not only represents this particular lifestyle, but pulls the viewer into the atmosphere of the moment, both on stage and behind the scenes. Stylistically, Sotirova has again moved away from the execution of her previous work. The images are all photojournalistic, and the perspective, lighting and feel separate this body of work from the others, though certain elements from each series seem to inform the next. Here, the vibrancy of “Embracing the Goddess” meets the journalistic side of “Tree of Life”; however, the result is achieved through representational, not metaphorical, methods. But the effect is just as tangible. The work draws you in to this fanciful environment with fluttering feathers and barely clad performers. Sotirova continues to entrench the viewer in a world that matters to her, and the result leaves the observer feeling as if he or she has been a participant in the story all along.

As strange as it is that Sotirova could create such varied bodies of work, it’s equally arresting that other areas within Amsterdam, in contrast to the burlesque sequence, could have such a tranquil feel. Sotirova approaches all of her subjects earnestly and captures not only the people of the world, but also the world itself in honest and respectful ways. For her, the metaphorical images of “Impressions of Holland” are a documentary of the changing landscapes there. She uses the reflections of the concrete and modern architecture in contrast to the organic origins of the region as seen in the tranquil waters of the countryside. She juxtaposes the traditional boathouses with the newer buildings on the water and questions the blurred line of staying solid in a place versus passing through. Being a free-roaming soul herself, Sotirova has a particular interest in understanding the established and the transient, and she uses the evolving landscape of Amsterdam to explore this. The camera allows her to reflect on herself and her stasis within the watery visage of Holland.

Sotirova’s “Impressions of Holland” project is a more conceptual approach to photography, on the other hand, depicting reflected scenery of the idyllic location in much the same way as master Impressionist painters did in the past.
Ina Sotirova’s photography projects evolve out of her life experiences, idealism and explorations. Whether she’s enchanted by the concept of using body art to metaphorically represent an idea or by capturing the strength in the eyes of African children, her work stems from her worldview. Even though it seems as though Sotirova has no standard way of approaching her subjects, she’s always true to herself and the moment. She still likes to experiment and doesn’t want to be limited to any one approach to photography.

“I don’t want to be boxed up in ‘Oh, am I doing this right or doing this wrong?’ but rather just see what happens,” says Sotirova.

In the freedom that she allows herself with her photography, she has remarkably accomplished all of these bodies of work within the last year. She captures all of her images with a synchronistic style in tune with her subjects. In many ways, these images act as a type of journal of Sotirova’s experiences and the vastness of her interests and pursuits. No single image can serve as a self-portrait of Sotirova, but taken as a whole, the work that she has created to date is a colorful and fascinating biography of this remarkable and intrepid young photographer.

See more of Ina Sotirova’s work at her website, www.cosmusart.org. Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler is a writer, photographer and educator living in Southern California. Read more of her articles on the DPP website, and see her photography at www.amandaquintenz.com.


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