Ina Ionescu: “Photography was like falling in love”

The Polaroids Ina Ionescu shoots are mysterious and engage the viewers to dig further in themselves and find the hidden meanings caught in the frames. Connecting with her through this interview revealed to me a woman in love with her art and the beauty that is found in the discovery of well cherished memories.

Interview by Irina Gache
Ina’s portrait by Mary Revery 

1. Describe the love relationship between you and Polaroid.

Instant love. We were lucky enough to find each other. I love it’s colors and corkiness. I try to be different with it, not like with other cameras. I really try to be more honest.


2. A place where you never get bored.

The places in-between, the roads, the journeys, the will she/won’t she, the spaces and times for transition or evolution. It’s so exciting there.

3. Your favorite object and the memory that gave it this quality.

So many to choose from! I am a memory hoarder! Oh! But the mother-load of meaningfulness is something very obvious and, I promise you, not shallow at all : my phone.
First, it was a gift; secondly it has been with me for 2 years now; thirdly, it holds precious precious photo and video memories; fourthly, it fits perfectly in my hand. We’ve been together soo long I know it’s weight and feel and I have a new phone case that is fabulous and cute and wants’s to be a smart ass. Like me. I photograph, I write, I communicate though my phone. I think everyone secretly loves their phone,

4. A scent you’d like to put in a picture. How would the picture look?

There is an inside battle between a scent for a thing I would like to eat and a scent for a “thing” I would like to kiss. So I will choose a scent I would like to live in. It’s wet, but a little cold, it’s fresh, but a little sweet. A normal garden after the rain somewhere in the beginning of spring, as soon as the air changes from the smell of frost in the morning to the smell of vivid sunlight. There are some flowers in bloom.

5. The round Polaroid frames make me think of images caught in a small mirror, a fast mysterious glimpse of people and objects. Tell me a bit about your choice for this kind of frame.

I am so glad you thought of that because that is exactly what I was trying to do. I wanted a sort of “glimpse through the keyhole” image where the audience sees parts of the story and they complete the missing bits with their imagination. I have just started using the round frame and it has lots more to offer in terms of constructing the image and framing it. Bravo! to the guys from impossible for thinking of it.
When I am using the Polaroid I always use the frame type as a medium, as part of the image (because it is part of the image!). I think that we should completely explore what the Instant photography has to offer and in no way waste our times taking the same pictures we would with a digital camera.


6. First photograph you took and were proud of.

Pfff I was 7 when I started using a camera with diaphragm and shutter control. I really don’t remember the first. I am sure it wasn’t much at all, but I was proud of it. Probably with some flower or my dog. The main point was that I enjoyed the process and I still do. I could be in pain or ill or something, but if you give me something to photograph I get absorbed in it and I forget my woes.

7. Close you eyes. What is the first image that you see?

I see a bunch of images. People I care about, places I have travelled to in photos I have on my fridge.

8. Your evening ritual.

Sitting in the kitchen with C. talking about our day with beer and ciggies, reading from my book on “the biggest mysteries of the world” until we get sleepy.

9. You are given a magic key. What does it open?

This is hard! I have been watching a lot of magic/supernatural/horror shows (I loooove Penny Dreadful) and I think that key must come with a price I am not willing to pay. I really hope it’s really pretty and baroque so I can wear it around my neck, but I wouldn’t open anything with it..

10. Why photography?

It happened, I couldn’t tell you. It was like falling in love. A combination if chance, entourage and personality. I had flirted with being a writer, musician and a little drawing before photography.
I am very melancholic and romantic as a person. Capturing every moment on camera seems to be the perfect fit for me, wouldn’t you say?

Irina Gache is a photographer living and creating in Wonderland.

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