Irene discovers through her series, "Seele" from the project Inner Tales, a light that belongs to her. This outcome takes place in Germany with an encounter so vivid and impressing, she feels as if her Northern Europe will always hold a light to be discovered and learnt anew.
Such a discovery is rare among photographers and to document and appreciate such an event requires focus and diligence. As such, investigations as these abound with youth and enthusiasm and naturally appeal to the eye and mind of many a young photographer. Irene not only speaks of light, also of the self and her position in the world, and in life. Her work plays out on poetic waters exemplifying both nihilism and romanticism. Irene, unwittingly, is reviewing certain forgotten archetypes of the feminine and through this act, she emerges self assured on the
Skymningsagor från Sverige
"Skymningsagor från Sverige" are tales from Sweden which speak about our vulnerability, lonleiness, freedom.... These images are part of the metaphor of desire. The desire to fly above my own ghosts.
For this I used scenography as the element in which I felt most comfortable: the forest, because it is a place full of symbols and meanings.
I just fell in love with those beautiful landscapes.
Irene Cruz - About Skymningsagor från Sverige.
Irene Cruz's pictures of Sweden are a truly spoken image of the reality of the beauty of that far away country, mystical, magical, deep...not always easy to understand and love for everyone. The pictures make you feel a part of the neverending vaste landscape, feeling the deepness of the forests and the coldness of the water.
Tyst är lunden, och sjön, som kysst
Strandens somnade ros, är tyst.
[…] Stilla, drömmande stilla.
Quiet is the grove, and the lake, as if kissed
quiet is the sleeping rose in the beach
[…] silent, dreamingly silent.
Much like a fallen birch leaf will disturb the stillness of the surface of a lake
and send ripples gliding smoothly outwards, towards the wall of encircling
trees, as I first laid my eyes on Irene Cruz’s work Skymningssagor från Sverige
through my mind reverberated the echoes of a memory; a memory of the
words of Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg that open this text and through those,
a memory of my very own days in Scandinavia.
As a fresh newcomer to the northernmost corner of Europe, most of the small-talk I engaged in with the locals used to gravitate around the long, unforgiving winters as opposed to the brief, blissful weeks of summer. A southern mind, accustomed to gentler seasons, finds itself quickly obsessed with such contrasts and easily overlooks the beauty that awaits not in either end of the Nordic season cycle but in the transitions that lie in-between. Late October and early November, when colder winds rise and strip the trees naked of their last leaves, when light is on the wane and the world is reduced to a scale of blacks, whites and faded grays, is one such period. Irene Cruz, whose journey to central Sweden took place precisely during those days, was quick to grasp the magic that lies in all that decay; a magic perhaps less obvious than that of the frozen wonderland that Scandinavia becomes in the high winter, but a magic not one inch less enticing for the eye trained to see past rule and convention.
As Cruz learned during her stay in Sweden, walking amidst the bare, silent woods drives the soul to utter peace, a stillness of mind and heart that comes almost always with a deep sense of melancholy. In a world that wilts and withers, one is left alone to shift the gaze inwards and stare at the jumble of emotions that lies within, from the quiet joys to the unsatisfied desires. The series “Flying without wings” is testimony to that; a human soul that yearns to stretch out its wings and soar the clear, crisp blue of the sky. Nowhere but in the crystalline, mirror-like quality of the water in a Nordic lake is that desire reflected as clearly, and as painfully. One may stick out his hand and feel it – almost caress it – but never fully grasp it. So is the rule with most things human desire for in their existence.
If “Flying without wings” illustrates the inner longings, the two remaining series – “Fallgility”, “Björk” – speak of another leitmotiv: the fragility of a life that must fight against every odd to prevail. As the branches of the birch tree (hence the name “Björk”) are left bare by the steel grip of the shifting autumn winds, so do the women in the pictures strip themselves of all protection and expose their soul with the sentinel trees as the sole, impassive witness. Nowhere but under the brutal Nordic seasons does one feel as fragile, a tiny candlelight that could be snuffed out at a whim; nowhere does one feel as strong, as capable to look one’s fears in the eye and overcome every trial. Such contrast is ever present in Irene Cruz’s Skymningssagor från Sverige, and she herself does not hesitate to jump in and move from portrayer to portrayed in some of the snapshots. What is the fragility of the artist, after all, but the fragility of the human being altogether?
José Rojo Martín, journalist.