by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 17th of October 2022
Irene Perovich captures the essence in all her documentary shots. Story telling images full of emotions and
social commitment are her goals. She travelled a lot between Africa and Asia, went to remote places, photographing with respect for the individual, trying to understand their characteristics and traditions. Her work doesn't leave anybody untouched.
Let's travel through her life and photographic experiences through this interview.
'Fishing net making' (South Vietnam)
In this small fishingmen village near to Mui Né, I could admire the skills and speed these woman wre. It was wonderful to admire skills and speed the woman was reparing the nets!
'Waiting for lunch' – Chitwan (Nepal)
In the same small village : people live mainly outdoors next to the miserable huts. In this small makeshift kitchen, the baby is waiting for his mother gone for a moment to cook the lunch.
'Dassenech tribe kids' - Omo Valley (Ethiopia)
It is interesting to see how and with what ingenuity these bottle caps are made. Everything for the Dassenech people can be a source of inspiration!
'Awakening early in the morning' - San Tribe (Bushmen) - Kalahari Desert (Namibia)
I arrived at their camp at the crack of dawn. I wanted to greet them and thank them for the hospitality of the past few days, but many were still asleep, then slowly someone began to wake up. A strange smell of coffee hovered in the air, while my curious gaze rested on the interesting and very marked face of this old woman who had just woken up, probably also attracted by the smell of coffee!
I was born in Zadar in Croatia. At the age of five, I moved with my family to Italy.
My photographic journey began many years ago when I made a trip to Brazil. I already came from recent photographic experiences, not as a photographer but as a model. But this trip was, in some ways, my first introduction to the world of photography.
During that Brazil, I had the opportunity to take several photos.
I participated to a competition in a company for painting and photography and won an award. This was the push that led me to favour photography over painting. I dedicated my time to photography when I was free from work commitments. At the time I was working for an important Italian Insurance Company.
More than a hobby, my relationship with photography has become a lifestyle over time. I feel one with it. It makes me feel good, it makes me feel fulfilled and at the same time allows me to get away (even if only for a short time) from the daily worries and cares. It just gives me a breath of fresh air. That's why I love it!
I usually look a lot at the works of other photographers. I go to Exhibitions, Conferences, everything that talks about photography arouses my interest but also because, in my opinion, we always have something to learn from others.
Sometimes, watching certain photos, a world really opens up to me. It was the time I went to Siena to see Steve Mc Curry's exhibition.
I was amazed by his wonderful works. I decided to participate to my first important competition in 2016: the Siena International Photography Awards and I managed to reach the finals.
However, in addition to Steve Mc Curry who inspired me a lot, I would like to mention Sebastiao Salgado and Josef Koudelka too. They all three are the photographers fascinating me. I have a huge admiration for their social and humanitarian commitment.
In 2016 I joined the "Il Cupolone" Photographic Group in Florence. New horizons opened up. When joining the Club, I also became a member of FIAF allowing me to participate in national and international photographic competitions such as the Italian Cup (I won in 2018) and the World Cup for Clubs with good results. I had solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad.
The 1st of February 2021, I was awarded with the title of AFIAP (FIAP Artists) by the Italian Federation of Photographic Associations.
The beauty of photography is that it always is “in progress", it never becomes a static thing.
Every day we learn something adding to our knowledge and our way of photographing.
It is a wonderful world in which I literally "plunged" with all my energy, favouring documentary photography above all.
I travelled mainly between Africa and Asia, kidnapped by the charm of those cultures so far away. I wanted to document the life of the people who live in the most remote places on the planet, focusing my lens essentially on their intense gazes full of emotion. Respect for the individual, trying to understand their characteristics and traditions. Capturing a person’s soul, in the most varied cultural and religious aspects, was and still is a great life lesson.
As for the equipment, I would say that it is very important to have good kit, but even more important is "knowing how to see", "knowing how to observe". Being able to see not only with the eyes but also with the heart!
Photography is also sensitivity. It is knowing how to make great even the smallest things.
In fact it is, above all, the small details that count and that manage to tell a story. TELLING (this is the key word!): Telling without words, without a text only through images. Imagine that they speak for themselves and convey emotions!
For me, this is photography!
Another important thing is to add a personal imprint to your photos giving them extra power whether it happens at the moment of shooting or during post-processing.
I have always used a Nikon. I started with the D3200. Then moving on to the D7100. Then the full frame D750-D810 and finally now the Mirrorless Z6II. The weight that I carry with me on my travels is considerable. That is a reason why I bought the Z6II which is smaller and offers an equally performance, even if I currently don't have the dedicated lenses. Usually, I carry two cameras, preferably D750 and Z6II and two 24-70 f2.8 - 70-200 f2.8 lenses + a teleconverter, Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod and 2 flashes. It is always a difficult choice when I embark on a journey since I would like to take a lot more equipment, but alas, the weight on the plane is always very limited and in any case I believe that even if I could do it, my shoulders would suffer.
My travels are a bit of an adventure but also with a well-defined planning! Before leaving, I do an in depth study of the places, the route I would like to photograph but always leaving plenty of room for the unexpected. Nothing in my travels is pre-constructed!
I can't say I have a favourite photo. Each photo for me contains a story! A world to tell that sometimes does not go hand in hand with the beauty of photography, or with the best techniques but based on the emotions it aroused in me at the time.
I still have many ideas and projects that I would like to implement, but not everything is always feasible, given the circumstances and the difficult times we are living in (wars, pandemics and economic crisis). I would like to hope for better times for all of us!
I can only say that I am happy when I am able to communicate something through my photos and am so grateful to 1x giving me the opportunity to share my work.
I would also like to thank the owners, the curators, the crew and members and especially Yvette Depaepe as Head of the editorial team, for giving me this wonderful interview opportunity!!!
'Burmese monk in prayer' Myanmar – (Burna)
A monk is reading the sacred texts inside the ancient monastery of Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung. This monastery was build all in wood and with characteristic oval windows (19th century)
'Mocanita' – Maramures (Romania)
The last remaining forest steam train in Europe. A moment of relaxation for the driver, before leaving for the mountain for the supply of timber.
'Japanese tourist in Varanasi' (India)
First light of dawn. An intense dawn full of emotions that welcomes thousands of pilgrims for centuries, to watch the sun rising slowly over the Ganges. They immerse themselves in the sacred waters. That day I noticed among the many pilgrims, this lady who was very happy to pose for me.
'Old Nepalese nun' - Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu - (Nepal).
This little woman is almost an institution for the people of Kathmandu and also for the photographers and tourists to visit this pelgrimage. She is always and invariably there, immersed in prayers, in front of the Stupa's entrance. It is one of the largest and most significant Buddhist monuments in the world.
'Chilly after bath' – Chitwan (Nepal).
In this small village hidden in the jungle, a little child dries herself after she took a bath in a tub.
'Turkish potter' – Sille, a small village a few km from Konya (Turkey)
In an ancient and typical workshop, almost looking like a small cave, I was able to witness the making of ceramics by this craftman.
'Hmong woman' (North Vietnam)
Small rural villages where ethnic minorities live, are scattered in the mountains. I was invited in one of their houses and saw this very simple and frugal environment in which they live.
'Old Vietnamese woman' - Hoi An (Vietnam)
This is the romantic city of lanterns. I was photographing a beautiful girl passing by when I suddenly turned around and saw something unexpected! The characteristic face of this very nice granny sitting on the threshold of a door. She captured all my attention and I photographed her instantly.
'Mothers with children' - Village of the Mursi tribe (Ethiopia)
A little suspicious and warlike people who do not like to be photographed except for a fee in bir! But I believe that their claim is absolutely justified (exploitation is not nice!). With their lip plates they have managed to arouse an immeasurable interest both in photographers and in ordinary travelers who, in order to see them, go into those areas so inaccessible and dangerous driven by an excess of curiosity. New generations gradually, tend to abandon these tribal customs. (see photo).
'Child of Dassenech tribe' -Omo Valley (Ethiopia)
This child was a little frightened when he saw us coming. He ran and arrive, he ran and took shelter by the mother. Her protective hand gesture seemed to reassure the him.
'Tribal ornaments' - Village of the Mursi tribe (Ethiopia)
Mursi woman with the characteristic lip plate.
'Guarding the village' - Dassenech tribe, Omo Valley (Ethiopia)
A small village made up of very poor huts. To reach it, you have to cross the Omo river with rudimentary pirogues (boats dug into tree trunks). A unique experience and also a little dangerous, but it was really worth it!
'Hamer girl's portrait' – Turmi, Omo Valley (Southern Ethiopia)
On the Turmi market, many tribes from the area - mainly the Hamer tribe - sell their wares. I had the opportunity to photograph this beautiful and very affable girl who was shopping on the market. We interact and she offered her help as a very efficient guide and interpreter.
'Something to eat in the waste' - Kimba tribe(Namibia)
This photo was taken during my first trip to Namibia in 2010. At the edge of a large clearing was this small Himba camp, very poor and in poor condition. Nearby, a mound of waste and a little girl who was rummaging for something to eat. A scene that broke my heart and that I will never forget !
'Oral test time' - Himba school, Kaokoland (Namibia)
The teacher was preparing to question his pupils. In front of me, I noticed this funny scene!!! Someone doesn't feel ready!!!
'Loving look of a mother' - Kimba Tribe, Haokoland (Namibia)
The Himba Tribes are located on the border between Namibia and Angola! Two days of arduous travel to reach those places. We brought them food and they welcomed us very warmly. Learning a few words in their language allowed us, even if is was a very little, to interact with them. It was lunchtime and they were preparing food. The woman I photographed had just finished giving a bottle of milk to her little one and was looking at him very tenderly! It was a beautiful scene. I couldn't resist to photograph it.
Many thanks for the interesting information under each of your beautiful images, Irene!
This is highly appreciated.
Peter Hammer PRO
Thank you so much Peter!!!
Daniel Springgay CREW
Irene Wow girl breathtaking images of the highest quality - Congratulations - Masterclass
Heartfelt thanks Daniel for this wonderful appreciation !!!
Superb images, congrats!
Thank you so much Patrick !!!
Cicek Kiral CREW
Awesome images...Congratulations...Thank you for Yvette once more...
Many thanks Cicek for appreciation !!!
Amazing portfolio. Congratulations
Thank you so much Nebula !!!
Shaibal Nandi PRO
Thank you so much Shaibal !!!
Vladimir Funtak PRO
Bravo Irena, vrhunske fotke!
Thank you so much Vladimir !!!
Shobhit Chawla PRO
Beautiful images ! Each tells a lovely story and has a deep connection with the viewer ! My congratulations and compliments
Heartfelt thanks Shobhit for your wonderful appreciation !!!
Wow Congratulations Irene great and beautiful photos, My compliments
Thank you so much Jois for a beautiful appreciation !!!
Wanghan Li PRO
Great! Thanks for the wonder article and the collect!
Thanks to you Wanghan Li for your appreciation !!!
Iris Wiener PRO
Many thanks Iris !!!
Lou Urlings PRO
In every sense outstanding photographie!
Thank you so much Lou !!!
Thierry Dufour PRO
Superb interview, talented photographer and sublime images !!!
Thank you so much Thierry for a beautiful appreciation !!!
Inspired.. Thanks for sharing
Thanks to you Pinu !!!
Complimenti carissima Irene, le tue fotografie parlano, hanno un tocco vivo e dolcissimo, colpiscono il cuore per l'armonia e la dolcezza di ogni scatto. Grazie Yvette, sempre presente nel presentaric gli artisti della famiglia 1x
Mi hai emozionato !!! Grazie di cuore carissima Francesca per questo meraviglioso apprezzamento!!!
Anita Singh PRO
Beautiful photographs Irene , they all look so alive , congratulations
Thank you so much dear Anita !!!
Dear Yvette, It is a great honor for me to see my interview published on 1x Magazine and above all to have collaborated with one of the most prestigious galleries in the world !!! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity !!! Best greetings, Irene
Yvette Depaepe CREW
No thanks, Irene! I was really touched by discovering so many excellent images in your portfolio, especially the ones from Nepal and more specifically Chitwan. I was in that small village during my travels as a volunteer in Nepal. Love the Nepali people, women and kids the most ;-) Your work is so honest and true. It's a honour to have your interview in the 1x magazine. Hugs, Yvette xx
Tony Galvin PRO
Truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing you marvellous work. Would love to learn of your techniques but for now I'll simply savour and enjoy
Thank you so much Tony for a wonderful appreciation!!!