“Silent Dialog” by Viktoria Sorochinski

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Conversation with Viktoria Sorochinski

by Paola Núñez Solorio


How would you describe a project like Silent Dialog?

Silent Dialog is a ongoing project that I have started to work on in 2011. It is about one of the most complex familial bonds – the one of mother and son. I have always been interested in people, relationships, moments of conflict with oneself and with others, unresolved issues, fears, pathologies, basically all those aspects which make us human beings. Prior to starting to work with this theme I have explored other familial bonds such as mother-daughter relationship (Anna&Eve 2005-2012), and father-daughter relationship (Daddy 2008-2009). These explorations have prepared the ground for my work in Silent Dialog. However my approach in this project is a bit different, because I’m working with different families and generations as oppose to those previous projects where I’m following the same subjects and constructing a certain narrative. In Silent Dialog my process is very intuitive, and even though it involves a certain degree of staging, I’m allowing quite a lot of spontaneity. I never plan my shoots in advance, and I often don’t even know my subjects prior to photographing them.


How do you translate a complex psychological relationship into images?

It is certainly very hard to translate someone’s relationship into an image. I don’t think that one image can possibly show all aspects and shades of any relationship. Therefore my goal is to capture something that may trigger thoughts or a subconscious feeling of something important that is hidden below the surface. A moment that is particular to those people that I photograph, but also something that may be recognized by other people. Something that we all, as human beings, may relate to subconsciously, because we are all sharing some common knowledge that is transferred from one generation to the other. I see my work as a kind of search for windows into “truth” that we often deny and hide from ourselves.


What do you look for in your subjects for the Silent Dialog series? How is the selection process?

When I’m choosing my subjects I’m looking first of all for interesting dynamics between the subjects which I can explore and investigate. However, I’m also choosing my subjects based on visual characteristics. I’m always looking for a certain expressive quality in the faces which will allow me to reveal the dynamic or the moment in the most eloquent way. All people and their relationships are interesting to analyze, but when it comes to image making I have to consider the visual aspect. I never work with models or actors. I’m working with real people. Therefore I’m searching for subjects who’s emotions and internal conflicts may translate into an image in the most meaningful way.


In your statement you mention that this project dwells in between documentary and fiction. All the subjects are real people. To what extent would you say that the people portrayed in this series feel represented by these images?

First of all, I’d like to emphasize that my work is still not documentary, and I don’t claim it as such. The only documentary aspect of it is that I’m photographing real people and real relationships, but the final result is a kind of allegory or fiction which is based on or inspired by the particular subjects. Sometimes my subjects feel that I really captured something true about their relationship. However, I don’t usually ask my subjects if they think that the image I came up with represents the true them. I think that it’s very hard sometimes to admit something like that even when it’s obvious, because I often portray moment of psychological conflict. I’m not a psychoanalyst, I’m an artist and I work from my own intuition and interpretation. I always show the images to my subject for approval, and if they say that they like it I’m assuming that they accept they way I have portrayed them.


How has psychoanalysis and other related schools of thought influenced your work?

Psychology and psychoanalysis certainly interest me a lot, and I read works of great thinkers in these disciplines such as Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Carl Jung, Julia Kristeva, and Micheal Gurian. I can say that I’m using my knowledge of these schools of thought to a certain extent when I’m photographing my subjects, and that it informs to some degree my images. However, I never make any straight forward references. Reading these books helps me to understand better human nature and to be able to analyze people surrounding me and myself. But I still work mainly from my own observation and intuition.


About the artis

Viktoria Sorochinski is a Ukrainian-born artist who has lived and studied in Russia, Israel, and Canada prior to settling in New York City, where she has acquired her Masters of Fine Arts in 2008.

Since 2001 she has been participating in various group and solo exhibitions and international photography festivals in Canada, USA, France, Italy, China and Georgia. She is also a finalist and winner of several international photography competitions and awards, among which are: Encuentros Abiertos, Magenta Flash Forward, PDN Photo Annual, Voices Off Arles, IPA Award ,ONWARD, Review Santa Fe, Descubrimientos PHE, BluePrint Fellowship, and many others. Her work is also widely published in internationally acclaimed magazines, among which are British Journal of Photography, EYEMAZING, NY Times, PDN, GUP, Le Monde, and many others, as well as in web portals worldwide.

For further information about Viktoria, visit: http://www.viktoriart.com

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