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Interview: Photograpger Irina Jomir (Norway)

Can you tell us a little about you?

I’m a fine art and portrait photographer based in Oslo, Norway. I grew up in Moldova, in a family where every one was expressing him/herself in some form of art or sports professionally. Naturally I took same path. At age of nine I started studying at a local school of arts and since I’m driven to creativity as a way of living.

How and when did you get into photography?

Photography as a chosen medium of self expression came to me about nine years ago. At that time I was doing some hobby retouching, but it wasn’t enough anymore to be working on someone else’s images. So I got myself my first camera, Fuji X100 and I fell in love with it. Its retro look and manual dials already made me feel like a photographer and I wouldn’t go anywhere without it. I’d spend any free minute photographing anything around. People and architecture were the most interesting subjects. I’d often hide behind trees to photograph a perfect moment of strangers on the streets or through a windows of a cafe. Catching emotions that were perhaps meant to be hidden or expressed in a moment of loneliness was what I was after. To me those were truly the only truthful moments of somebody’s emotional state. Then soon I got pregnant and I decided to take newborn pictures of my baby. I was preparing for it whole pregnancy, watching educational videos, finding props. When he was born I did the shoot and three months later I was commissioned to do a baby photo session, thats when I realised I can do what I love and earn on it too. Starting a business of newborn photography then was just a way to get into the industry professionally. Nowadays I’m doing more portraits and fine art.

What does photography mean to you?

Photography to me is indeed a medium through which I develop my personal growth. I use it as a way to express my emotional views on the world, people and talk about my personal experiences. It’s my way of communication, my voice. I can’t separate myself from it anymore.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

Majority of my work focuses mainly on stylised portraiture with a hint of fine art and fashion. Originally I come from a place which I artistically can associate with colourful and complex ornaments. But for a long time I live in Scandinavia and that’s what is truly affecting my work greatly with it’s minimalistic style. I like to focus my attention fully on subject and body language, everything around it is usually monotone or minimalistic. I think that my style is somehow affected by the places I’ve lived in, the sense of fashion I got through my work experience in fashion industry and my obsessive attraction to human emotions. I also have specific emotions I favour and I often seek to show it in my work or build an entire concept shoot around it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop exploring new ways to take it further and polish my style.

Where do you get inspiration from?

Quite often I’m inspired by people I cross my paths with, their personal stories, my own personal stories. I think it is always worth of seeking the inspiration from within yourself. I don't think I have one particular source of influence. I'm inspired by music, films, life dramas. My source is very global.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

Yes absolutely. I envision the idea first, think through all the details in the frame and then plan the technical execution of it. I can freestyle, but I don’t like it.

Studio, on location or both?

I mostly work at studio and I prefer it because of the comfort it gives me with having a full control over the light. However, I’m currently working on some conceptional projects and I challenge myself to have most of it done on location.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

Paid professional.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

It was my hotel series session. The model, Natalia Tristan, was my MUAH and we planned a boudoir session for her. I haven’t really tried this genre before, nor have I felt confident having it done on location I haven’t been in before. We booked a hotel room to give it a more intimate and sophisticated feel. I think I’ve never felt myself as insecure in my professional abilities as when we entered the room and I realised how extremely difficult it is going to be to execute beautifully lit images in such a narrow spaced room with only red walls and ceiling. Plus we had only one hour with natural light left. It only meant my creative decisions in how to deal with the light are gonna be put to test. The photo session started at 6pm and finished at 6am. We worked for 12 hours straight and I think we really nailed it. This series was published in couple of magazines and I’m in general quite proud of the outcome and the experience I gained. Every now and then, whenever I get to feel insecure about upcoming photo project I remind myself about that day, how complicated it was and gives me that little boost I need.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I had Nikon, now shoot with Canon and I’m kinda tempted to switch over to the Fuji again, medium format this time. The reason for making the choice to move to another brand has always been a personal preference in camera’s color representation.

I love prime lenses, but shoot mostly with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, it has more use for me in the studio space I currently have.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Trust in yourself and your own vision more than anyone else would. Give yourself the time you need to learn and master your craft. Allow yourself to do mistakes. Remember that no one is born with the knowledge of how to achieve perfection and you will need to fail many times in practice before you reach that same result. Try not to get lost in the ocean of other photographer's work. Look for inspiration, but don’t let it consume you and affect your own vision. Learn from those who inspire you the most, but don’t compare ourselves to them, because it’s very destructive. Try not to do something because it’s trendy, but because it resonates with your aesthetics. Look for inspiration within yourself - you are unique and your own unique path, view and experiences is what is truly going to help you to build your own style, so embrace it!

What do you think of our new magazine?

I’m happy to see it gathers talents from all over the world, that it’s a good mix of photographers and models of different caliber. I think it is so important and respectful that Modellenland Magazine supports and gives opportunity to artists to showcase their work at different levels! I’m very grateful to be invited for this interview and I with Modellenland Magazine lots of success in feature!

Model - Emilie Billington / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Model - Emilie Billington / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Emilie Billington / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Emilie Billington, Jonas Aden / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Model - Anna Russell @poppyseeddancer

Natalia Tristan / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Maria Kaira / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Maria Kaira / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Emilie Billington, Jonas Aden / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Emilie Billington, Jonas Aden / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Emilie Billington, Jonas Aden / MUAH - Natalia Tristan

Anna Russell @poppyseeddancer

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