Growing up in Toronto, I deemed myself the family photographer in my early teens, being more comfortable behind the camera than in front. I double majored in International Development Studies and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University from 2009-2013. However I decided to revisit this interest in photography during the summer of 2011 when I enrolled in an intensive photography and media course at Parsons in New York. I threw myself into a new academic direction, a new city, and a new social environment. During this time, I learned to photograph everything that caught my eye. I started to meander without destination and document the bizarre happenings around me; walking alone was fulfilling. Paying attention began to ground me in the present moment and enhance my daily life.

I currently live in Los Angeles, and am entranced by the literal and figurative snapshots I assimilate as I pass through different environments and their living components; which seem to be many different worlds, yet all ‘American’. Of these, I am most drawn to those where I felt elements of the bizarre interacting with the ordinary. I feel a melancholic presence underlying the bright and shiny ethos of the ‘American dream’ and the prosperity we have historically been known to focus on. I want to continue to examine and capture the complexity of what people have come to see as merely average, to create an awareness of the chaos that looms behind the presentation of order and simplicity. I am applying to Masters of Fine Arts programs in and around Los Angeles with the hopes of pursuing photography in a more structured way.

I am committed in my passion to document what I find extraordinary within my sphere of existence. I find meaning in these aspects of my environment and capture them as they appear to me. I want to draw viewers into each photograph and invite them to attempt to resolve that which is looming beneath the surface; to speculate as to the circumstances behind the scene. In recent years I have shot using various 35mm point and shoot cameras and refuse to alter any elements of my photographs before or after taking them. I understand what I’m attracted to and see it as art that is presented to me, with my job being to simply capture and show it. I appreciate how the banal and average can hold meaning, and encourage others to create their own meaning while viewing my work. Bizarre, beautiful, or the two combined as I have come to see them.

Irene Flatley