Viktoria Sorochinski on Portraiture

© Hellen van Meene

fototazo has asked twelve photographers what makes a good portrait. This is the 12th and last in the series of their responses. The other responses in the series have come from Timothy ArchibaldCori Pepelnjak, Anastasia Cazabon, Margo Ovcharenko, Shen Wei, Lucas Foglia, Susan Worsham, Steve Davis, Elinor Carucci, Mark Powell and Jess T. Dugan.

Viktoria Sorochinski was born in the Ukraine in 1979, lived in Russia from 1982 to 1990, immigrated to Israel in 1990 where she received a high school diploma and finally immigrated to Canada in 1996 where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Concordia University in 2006. Currently she lives and works in New York City where she received a Masters of Fine Arts in 2008 from New York University.

Since 2001 she has been participated in various group and solo exhibitions in Canada, the USA, France, Italy and China. She has been a finalist and winner of several international photography competitions and awards such as Magenta Flash Forward 2009 and 2010, PDN Photo Annual 2010 and 2011, J.M. Cameron Award 2010, WPGA Award 2010, Voies Off Arles 2010, IPA Award 2009 and 2010, ONWARD '10, Review Santa Fe 2010, Descubrimientos PHE 2011 and BluePrint Fellowship 2011. Additionally, her work has been published in many magazines, in print and online, worldwide including The New York Times, PDN and the British Journal of Photography.

© Robert Bergman
Viktoria Sorochinski: A great portrait for me is one that makes me feel or understand something about human beings, one that reveals a kind of "truth" that lies untouched in our unconscious. Something that cannot be expressed in words but only sensed, affecting the deepest layers of our psyche.

Portraits that capture my interest may be very different stylistically. The intimate, fragile and vulnerable portraits of Hellen van Meene, for example, have always intrigued me.

They are alive and breathless at the same time; her subjects are full of fears and idiosyncrasies, almost grotesque in their body language, but at the same time incredibly beautiful. They keep my eyes wondering.

I really admire Robert Bergman's portraits, which may be more conventional in terms of his approach to subjects; often straight forward head shots. However, his work has a kind of honesty and closeness that makes you almost feel that you know the person he captured, you may almost sense their lives.

Another kind of portrait that I'm interested in, and am exploring in my own work, is a psychological/narrative portrait. This kind of portrait becomes more than just a representation of someone's character: it has tension, internal conflict and it suggests a narrative. I like when a portrait has a sort of meditative quality to it, when there is something beyond the visible story. I'm interested in portraits that have a dialog between the subjects or even of a subject with himself, which triggers certain buttons in our unconscious that make us feel this invisible dialog and almost become part of it.

© Viktoria Sorochinski