In Focus with Irena Siwiak Atamewan

Applying a diverse range of techniques and skills, photographer Irena Siwiak Atamewan creates images that are both captivating and thought provoking. Here, she shares an ongoing project that proves just how much can be captured and expressed in a photograph…

‘Photography has been a big part of my life for about 35 years; I’ve spent that time exploring different genres in photography resulting in an eclectic body of work. Alongside creating my own work, I have spent several years working as a medical photographer and I now teach photography.

I am currently working on a couple of projects:

One I shoot on film on a 6×6 Rolleicord. The film has been exposed several times; the film exposed, re-rolled and exposed again, in different places and at different times. This lends itself to fortuitous combinations and happy accidents, I have little control over the combinations, except for the places I choose to photograph. It can take up to 6 months to complete a roll of film, the images reflecting my journeys, my experiences, my narratives and the fleeting way memories are recalled. You can see more of this work here.

The second project ‘Sitting with Mother’ is featured on this page.

This work stems from my mother’s initial diagnosis of Alzheimer’s 6 years ago and follows the time spent going for walks, sitting on benches and in tea-shops along the way. The work began as a casual document of the walks, revisiting and re-seeing the town where I grew up, then developed into a body of work documenting my mother’s journey through the disease. The images become more intimate as her condition progresses, my mother’s world becoming smaller, spending more time at home. I use the camera I have with me; it may be a DSLR, a Rolleicord or my iPhone. The iPhone being the most convenient camera helps me create the most intimate images, it is less intrusive and can be used quickly.





I have recently been experimenting with bringing the two projects together and using the double exposure method on my ‘Sitting with Mother’ project.

This is still in its early stages, giving me lots of room for experimentation. This work is in progress with plans to create a book.’

All photos are taken and copyrighted by Irena. If you’d like to find out more about her work and follow her new posts, you can contact Irena through her website and find her on Instagram and Twitter.

28th May 2019