Interview with Irina Gache – Nude is NOT Rude

Nude is NOT Rude. True. By this titled I have found Irina Gache in the publication Reforma. Irina is a photographer from Bucharest, Romania. Her work is inspiring and tackles an important issue there is now. We have organized an interview to find out more about her. Irina is also featured in the artists profile pages in the magazine.


First of all Irina could you to give us a short background or you, your past work and studies?


I studied Psychology, but never took my diploma. I’ve been thinking lately of going back to school. I’m very passionate about Psychoanalysis, but in Romania this field is not doing very well. I’ve been checking often the market for a master course in Psychoanalysis, but without any luck. We’ll see where the future brings me.

I’ve worked in several domains from sales to call centers and photo editor for magazines. Right now i am working as a photo reviewer for a micro stock agency, a job that I enjoy doing, though I see thousands of bad quality images daily.


Were there any reasons you chose the road to be an artist?


I’ve always felt like I have something in me, challenging me to let it out, a creative energy and a lot of images and words ran wildly in my head. The push I felt inside of me to let all these things out probably drove me to choose this path. I can’t think of a particular moment in life or reasons that drove me to this.


Why Photography?


In the process of finding a creative way to manifest my dreams, thoughts and ideas, I tried writing, drawing and painting, and eventually ended up doing photography. Horatiu Lazar, my boyfriend, who is also a photographer, inspired me to take the camera and start shooting, so I most probably owe it to him. He never gave up encouraging me to try this.

Photography helps me explore my mind and show others the way i perceive this reality. I think a photograph has the great ability of speaking for itself when seen by the viewer. It is such a fast impact on people’s minds! Just one look and if that photograph touches you, will remain with you forever. Our minds have the great capacity of never forgetting anything we see during our lifetime, even though we tend to think differently. I want to make a statement and challenge people to think outside the box through my photographs.


Do you have any models? Also in photography?


I love the works of a lot of photographers, and most probably each person I come in contact with will influence me in a smaller or bigger way, but I cannot say I have a model that I follow. I believe models should impose just a guideline of advice that you can chose from in order to ease your way through life, but the line between copying something and just taking inspiration from it, is very thin and that’s how we end up being a copy of a copy and seeing copies of copies at every step.


Where do you find the inspiration for your work?


I feel the world is offering me an endless inspiration by just being the way it is. I find inspiration in the subconscious of the human mind, with all the strange things locked inside its hidden drawers, far away from criticism. I am inspired by the naked human body, that I love shooting the most. I’m also very inspired by the darkness and shadows. I’ve always thought that the dark holds the key for a lot of magnificent things. There’s always mystery in the darkness, and a fear of the unknown that drives me to explore it deeper and unveil it through my works. In the light you can see the most of everything in front of you, but in the dark you can’t see much. I’m very interested in finding out what lurks in that darkness.


In your approach, do you take many pictures (for example of one incident, or do you wait for that special moment)?


I rarely photograph without an already formed idea in my mind on the subject. When i shoot i try to shoot as many images as I can so I can have what to choose from. In the beginning i used to shoot only a few images of one moment and that has bit my ass many times.


Can you give a short presentation of the “Nude is not Rude” Project?


Nude is NOT Rude is a photographic manifesto for the beauty of the human body in the context of censorship and auto-censorship. People tend to see nudity as something vulgar or as something embarrassing. Most of them aren’t even comfortable in their own bodies. Clothes are wonderful if you know how to use them, but i believe that the real battle is accepting your own sexuality and your naked body as being something beautiful no matter the size, shape, etc. Society dictates what is beautiful and what is not. We are used to perceiving everything by rules that aren’t even ours and that has put the naked human body in a corner of shame and made it a taboo. Not to mention the great psychological damages that come up from following the beauty trends, how many women are easily manipulated in thinking that they need to be thin and have a perfect figure in order to be happy with themselves. I think that the human body cannot look ugly in nude. It becomes unsightly through attitude, clothes and aesthetic invasive procedures. Accepting your own nudity is a form of sincerity towards yourself, which with time will help you see your true natural beauty, not the one promoted by society. It is time for people to evolve and not feel embarrassed or frustrated when seeing the bare human body. Nude is NOT Rude is my revolution to this world.


When did you start it and what would you like to accomplish with it?


I started the project this summer. I think the first photograph I showed was in July. I hope that by the end of the project, which is still in progress, to have touched people’s minds and at least a small number of them to come to terms with their bodies and enjoy themselves in nude, because after all, we were all born naked; clothes are just accessories that we play with and protect us from the environment and the weather. Or, I hope that some of the people that saw this project will stop putting labels when seeing a photograph of a naked person and stop judging the person in the photograph, because I hear this a lot. The same people that watch porn and masturbate will call a woman a whore for posing nude in an art photograph. Now that’s something that should make them raise a question to themselves.


It is said that in Romania, people are still not as open as people in western countries. And probably this may be a problem for you when searching for the models for the project. Do you have any difficulties with that? Do some persons stop you saying it should not appear?


In Romania you can still feel the post-communist vibe in a lot of people. They are still not as open as other countries towards a lot of things, not only when it comes to nudity in art.

I’ve not made a photograph for this project that the model did not approve of. No one that I shot for it has asked me to take down the photograph or not publish it. Instead, I had some promises from people that decided to be a part of my project and then backed out slowly telling me they no longer want to do this. The reasons were either unexplained or sad ones like: “My boyfriend will not approve of me posing nude, if he recognizes me I’ll be in so much trouble”, or “I feel fat and ugly, I’m in no shape to be posing nude” – this is the sad reality of the world we are living in. Which manipulated us into thinking nudity is shameful, slutty or we are ugly if we don’t fit in the patterns we were given. I am very grateful for the people who chose to be a part of this project. These people came out of their shell and made a huge step into accepting themselves outside of the society rules. I hold great respect for each of them.


Do you have any favorite picture from this project? Also a favorite one from other artists?


I think this one is my favorite from the project, because of its architectural look. I find it to have the biggest impact on my eyes when I see it.

I cannot choose just one photo from other artists, i like too many and i think it would be unfair work to have to choose just one out of so many great images.


As an artist what do you feel the internet has done for you, both on a positive and negative sense?


The internet has done a lot of great things for me, mainly by allowing me to share my work by posting it online, on my Tumblr blog, on my website and on Facebook for the world to see it. By doing this I have not only been able to show others my works, but also met people that liked my project and wanted to be a part of it. This is truly wonderful. I can’t put my finger on the negative part, because I focus more on the positive one in this matter. Maybe the censorship rules on the social media sites annoy me to a certain point, but then again, this is one of the catalysts for the way my project evolved, so in the negative you will find positive also if you know how to approach the problem.


Except the “Nude is not Rude”, do you have any other work in progress projects or for now you focus just on this?


I started photographing for this project. Before this, I have not made any photographs that I wanted to share with the world. After a while, I started shooting in between the photographs for the project also and discovered I had shot some things that moved me and wanted to show these as well. That’s how I came up with Random Acts Of Solitude that I included on my website.


You can see more of Irina’s work here

Interview by Vlad Ster