What I have to tell the world
Technical data: Every picture of this series is produced in 30 x 30 cm. Hahnemühle.
Every time I feel my skin breaking on metal it helps me be quiet, and quiet’s where I need to be. I've got scars on my skin, on my heart, on my soul… Reminding me of myself. Every time I feel alone and left forgotten, I have to believe in something, like angels to breathe. Every time I see my pain, beating in rhythm, I need to be silenced. In silence, where I hide my fear. You can see in my eyes, I can see in my reflection.
Björk it is a tale told with emotions which speak about our vulnerability, to which we leave ourselves open to, in certain circumstances. a fragility that leads to not only courage but also a sacrifice, and with it the necessity of exposing ourselves without walls or defenses. There was only a little advance planning; it just came, naturally, as a portrait of a time of personal exploration and photography.
The idea came when I discovered the meaning of the word "Björk", a typical tree of the Scandinavian forests which are characterized by its unique scar shape bark, which represent their history. To tell this story I wanted to create a simile between their scars and the ones on my own body. A way to tell my own story of life through visual poetry.
Skymningsagor från Sverige
"Skymningsagor från Sverige" are tales from Sweden that represent our vulnerability, loneliness, freedom.... These images are part of a metaphor of desire. The desire to fly above my own ghosts.
For this end I used as background the element I felt most comfortable with: the forest, because it is a place full of symbols and meanings.
I just fell in love with those beautiful landscapes in January 2012.
Irene Cruz - About Skymningsagor från Sverige.
Irene Cruz's pictures of Sweden are a genuine and honest portrayal of the beauty of that far away country, mystical, magical, deep... albeit not easy to understand and appreciate for everyone.
These pictures feel like part of the never-ending vast landscape, conveying the depth 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 oneself 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 humans 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.