Growing up in Gniezno, a small town in western Poland, creative opportunities were scarce for London-based photographer Tori Ferenc. Despite this, she did everything she could to explore her creativity. "I grew up wanting to be an actress and reading Shakespeare," says Ferenc. "I could never sit still, so I constantly tried to find new ways to express myself: playing piano, singing and writing. At one point, I even joined a folk group. At school, I became the subject of intense bullying, and being creative was my coping strategy."
A few years later, Ferenc discovered photography by accident. Together with a friend, they would sneak out with her parent's digital camera and take pictures. She uncovered a new world that she could build entirely in her vision. "I loved coming up with ideas, hunting for locations, trying to find clothes in second-hand shops, figuring out how to translate the idea into the photograph," she tells Capture. "I was obsessed with Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite paintings and always trying to recreate certain scenes in photos. My love of painting has stayed with me since then and influences how I shoot."
"Turning the camera on myself was easier than I thought it would be. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed making self-portraits, exposing myself and turning my body into a tool.”
As an introvert, documentary storytelling has given Ferenc the space to discover the world and understand people better. "As a person from a small town where things don't change that quickly, I was always hungry to travel and meet people whose life stories were completely different than mine," she says. It's this same curiosity that leads her to join the Capture community. "My photographic practice is very old-school, working mostly with film. I like the fact that NFTs are exploring this new digital territory. I'm also excited that this technology is more inclusive than selling physical prints through the galleries."
Ferenc's visual language is defined by its subtly holding space for quiet yet beautiful aspects of the human experience. Her work is informed by magical realism and the work of women artists like Linda Brownlee, Suzie Howell, Amy Woodward and Justine Kurland. Painting continues to shape her aesthetic, especially the ways the Dutch Golden Age and late Renaissance painters played with light and dark in their portraits. In Ferenc's images, deep shadows collide with illuminated details to give everyday life an otherworldly feel - "an emotional punch." She trades in the world of feeling, connection, and the haptic, and this tension born from the manipulation of light has become Ferenc's signature.