Earlier this month, at the Lucie Awards, we were fortunate enough to share a table with Viktoria Sorochinski, winner of the Discovery of the Year award for her series “Anna & Eve.” We were so intrigued by the story behind the work that we sat down with Viktoria to discuss “Anna & Eve” for the first installment in a series we’re calling Artist Spotlight.
MC: What was the origin of this project, and what was your relationship to Anna and Eve?
VS: I was 25 when I started this project, exactly the same age as Anna (the mother) was. Eve was almost four years old at that time. We met by coincidence, at а Russian cultural event in Montreal, where I lived at the time. I began photographing them a couple of weeks after our encounter, so our relationship actually developed along with the project. We became friends after a little while, and I would come to photograph them quite often. After I moved to NYC, I would actually stay at their apartment every time I came to Montreal to spend more time photographing them.
The main inspiration for me in this project was the unusual dynamic between the mother and the daughter, who interacted like two sisters. The boundaries between the grown-up woman and the little girl were blurred to a surprising degree. At times, Anna seemed to be more of a child than her four-year-old daughter. It was interesting for me to play with the idea of role switching between parent and child. I was also intrigued by the atmosphere of their living environment. I felt like I had been given access to some secret and almost magic world, which I wanted to explore.
MC: Did you envision this being a long term project from the beginning?
VS: I didn’t know right away that this project would last so long. At first, I guess I just kept going because I felt that I hadn’t reached the point where there is nothing else to say or to explore. After moving to NYC for my master’s degree, I kept going back to Montreal, just to photograph them. I think maybe around 2008 I felt that I wanted to continue this project as long as they will allow me to do it.
MC: What was your thought process in approaching this subject as a fine art body of work rather than a documentary?
VS: The way I was photographing them came naturally to me. I never really considered the idea of making it a purely documentary project, as this has never been my interest. I think that initially I fell in love with the medium of photography only because I felt that I could use it as a tool for expressing my ideas and for capturing something that is hidden from the “naked” eye. I never was the type of photographer who wanted to catch the real moment. For me the “real” that I’m after is something that lies beyond the image. Something that reveals some sort of universal truth about life, people, relationships; therefore, I create the stage for something to happen, and then I wait for the moment to click the button.
MC: Are the poses and situations you put them in reflective of your view on the relationship, or do Anna and Eve have input?
VS: This project is certainly my interpretation of their relationship, and I came up with most of the scenes. However, my work flow is very intuitive, I always leave a lot of space for improvisation, and ideas often change during the shooting because the subjects do something, or I see something interesting that I wasn’t necessarily planning.
MC: You’ve mentioned your interest in folk tales and myths and have stated that these photographs are ”new myths” that represent your interpretation of the relationship between Anna and Eve. Could you elaborate on that?
VS: In the beginning of the project I would most often come to them with ideas that had come to me in the daydreaming process. I think at that stage my interpretation of their relationship was quite interleaved with my childhood memories of fairy tales I used to read and listen to on vinyl records. I think that this approach also came from my interaction with Eve, who had been reading a tremendous amount of books since she was three years old. She would often imagine herself as different characters, and every time I would come to photograph them she would tell me who she was at this moment. At the same time she was always so smart and intense when she was interacting with her mother. She would often say things that were way more mature than one could imagine a child her age could say. This combination of imaginative childishness and maturity inspired these fairy tale-like images, where the child is often the leading character (just like Eve is in real life). However, later in the project, as Eve grew up and their relationship changed, I became more interested in their everyday life and interaction. So, I started to get inspired more by real situations and the dynamic between them, which was changing quite drastically every year.
MC: Where are you with this body of work now? Is it nearing an end for you?
VS: I don’t see this project as being absolutely finished. I consider the childhood part finished, and I’m working now on the book of “Anna & Eve,” which will include all the selected photographs from 2005-2012. However, I’m not yet sure whether I will keep photographing them later, as things are changing, and Eve is becoming an adolescent. I don’t know if she will allow me to photograph her, and if it will feel as organic as it has been until now. I definitely think that I need to make a pause with this project and work on other series and then see what happens.
See full post here: Marilyn Cadenbach Blog2012-10-30.