Trona Freeman | One to Watch

by Ashanti Jason


Art & Culture May 25, 2018

Inside the creative mind of Photographer Trona Freeman, the Artist channeling her chronic pain into captivating images.

Trona Freeman Photograph

Where do you find your inspiration for your photography?

I look to films,  art, and my surroundings. I like to juxtapose different things together, like butterflies in the snow, inspired by Surrealism and Dada. I like the playfulness and the way those art movements make you question what you see. Artists like Claude Cahun and Hannah Hoch have been a big influence on me, although I don’t think you will always see a linear connection.  Theories from Susan Sontag and Barthes have also influenced my style.

How has Photography influenced you as a person?

I think photography makes me slow down and really pay attention to my surroundings. I have chronic pain and for me, photography is an escape from that. It helps me tune into my environment, giving me a brilliant coping mechanism. My arthritis in my hands have got considerably worse over the last few months and deep in winter, it was awful. My images convey the limitations of having a disability and how it feels. Making these images are really quite cathartic and people respond to them the most too. Revealing vulnerabilities can be scary, especially on Instagram where everything is “perfect,” but that’s how we make the most important connections.

Among your work, do you have a favourite image? How has your style developed?

Trona Freeman Photograph

I want to say I like them all, they’re all my little babies. I do like the one above of the rose in the mirror.  I think one of the main developments is giving the image space to breath. Before, I tried to cram everything in, essentially overloading the eye. I think that’s great on occasions, but giving space and light and room to move, is really interesting for me at the moment. The empty spaces are important too.

What equipment do you shoot with?

I currently shoot with an Olympus Pen 7 and use a Panasonic F1.7 lens (sometimes changing to the Olympus 45mm). I like the micro four-thirds system, they’re just like DSLRs but lighter with interchangeable lenses.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking pictures?

Trona Freeman Photograph

Don’t worry so much about trying to make the shot perfect, that is never going to happen. The right aperture, ISO and Some of the most technically impressive shots, leave me cold. Instead, I wish I had been focusing on how I wanted it to feel. I’m always striving to get a feeling across in my photography. Like I said previously, photography helps me cope with pain so I like them to look soothing and calming. I think we can all do with a little square of peacefulness.

Trona Freeman Photograph

All pictures © Trona Freeman

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