Jack Deese: You received a BA in French and Spanish literature, what spurred the jump to photography for your MFA? Was that always the plan?
Irina Rozovsky: There was never a plan, just a gradual realisation that photography was what I needed and wanted to do, against all odds. I had never formally studied it, so I threw myself into an MFA. I had a few interesting jobs after college that used my Russian, Spanish, and French but I always felt like an operator relaying across cultural divides a message that I could decode, but that didn’t belong to me. The part of the brain where languages live is a very fertile place for me, but photography was a truer form of communication–the most expressive means I knew by which to actually say something.
JD: Thinking of language, I noticed that in your earlier projects, such as This Russia, the photos all had titles, and now the majority of your work is untitled. What is the photo title process like for you, and why the shift to untitled images?
IR: The somewhat abrupt shift from individually titled photographs to the murky territory of “Untitled (from Project Name)” began when I started to work on book-oriented projects rooted in singular places. My earlier method eschewed geography and gathered photos made all over—a placeless spread. Each image had to define and proclaim itself. When my work started to become more specifically connected to place, the name of the project/book became the framework that freed each photograph from needing definition. I felt I was able to get my point across in the naming of the project. I like the namelessness of “untitled” and the quality of belonging to suggested by the “(from…)”