Catalina Sour Vasquez, Sensory Surrealist

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"Coca" (2015). Photo © Catalina Sour Vasquez.

I met Catalina Sour Vasquez five years ago in Paris. This was a sort of transitioning phase in my own personal development and it was for her as well. Confusing, heartbroken, coming of age stories come into play here. Adolescents in adult bodies…we were older than we looked.

Music. Paris by night. All captured by the fluttering of Cat’s camera lens. It was an époque, and it was nostalgic. One wonders how, or if, her craft would have evolved differently had we not experienced these brief, but intense periods and relationships. From a distance there was a distinct optic shift, one that I watched from afar during my travels. Nostalgia was overrated and overdone. Straight lines, cheekbones and runways came into play with the perfect Paris background then later evolved into a vibrant playground transcending both time and space.

Her new series “Projets Dissolvantsis the catalyst for, what I believe, to be the style that she has been looking to develop. Superimposing imagery that caters to the senses with her delicately designed mise en scene, while utilizing color and über surrealist elements, Cat allows the viewer to focus on one specific, if not subconscious, component of the photograph – often addressing the social impact of our mundane everyday lives and the toll that it infiltrates on our mental and physical well being. There are direct references, colors or details that placate to a specific smell, touch or often taste. She will shamelessly critique society’s tendencies for mass consumption utilizing a candy coated stage that is easy for us to digest…and almost impossible to resist.

Catalina lives and works in Paris, France.

Words by Catalina Sour Vasquez, translated by Hillarey Jones (French version below):

There is always a beginning, an unforgettable moment of instant euphoria; for me, it was on my thirteenth birthday when my father gave me my first Polaroid, then at eighteen when he left me his entire photographic artillery — calmly passing me the torch.

Self-taught, I could usually be found in the dark corners of concert halls and Parisian soirées seeking out the light. The first clicks of the shutter were filtered bursts of adoration, which, as expected, initially pushed me to turn my objective towards the world of fashion.

After the obligatory initiatory years dedicated to finding oneself, I decided to study art history and visual arts, collecting a repertoire of artists who inspired me while storing them in an untouchable Rubik’s cube allowing room for a single mentor… for Duchamp.

Varied, contrasting and sometimes seen as contrarily silent, my point of view was constantly evolving to the point where it was easy to get lost, confused or even mute, waiting for a satisfaction that would never come. Today, my desire is to be free from expectation—this is the idea that dominates my craft.

To see, look, contemplate, and admire a specific subject or moment with a curiosity that is as futile to my vision as the ability to capture absolute beauty.

As a creative process I focus on one moment, an idea that develops meticulously. Artistic enlightenment does not come to me as often as I would hope; nonetheless, the work manages piece by piece to finally resonate with the sound of a photo.

There are other more difficult moments, like this one, where talking about myself brings up a sense of anxiety. I would almost consider it an exercise quasi Kamikaze, nearly impossible, the idea of putting subtitles to my work. Ideally, the imagery is left free and open for a fleeting glance or in depth reflection, creating a meaning that is fundamental to the viewer personally.

Essentially, it all boils down to the curiosity, viciousness, sadism, admiration, seduction, and the dreamer who ideally contemplates the juxtaposition of subject, setting, and the individual. My relationship to life and to the other has allowed me to touch on the immensity and sometimes complexity of the universe through art.

My photographs are ephemeral pinpoints of life where my point of view is frozen and the spectator initiates his own right and ability to communicate them.


Il y a toujours un début, un moment inoubliable d’euphorie instantanée ; c’était le jour de mon treizième anniversaire quand mon père m’offrit mon premier Polaroïd. A 18 ans, il me légua l’ensemble de son artillerie photo ; sereinement il me passa le flambeau.

Autodidacte, c’est alors dans l’obscurité des salles de concerts et des soirées parisiennes que je cherche la lumière. Mon premier reflex en rafale en raffole. Je tourne ensuite mon objectif vers l’univers mode.

Après ces années d’initiation, Je décide de suivre une formation en art et histoire visuelle.  Je répertorie ainsi les artistes qui m’inspirent dans un rubiks cube éclaté à ne pas toucher. Je laisserai ici un champ libre pour un nom                              pour Duchamp.

Variés, contrastés, parfois contradictoires voir silencieux, les premiers avis sur mon travail se multiplient. On peut dès lors vite se perdre, se confondre et tomber dans une forme de mimétisme, pour atteindre satisfaction, mais une satisfaction factice. Aujourd’hui l’envie d’être libre, d’exposer à quiconque une image, ma vision, domine.

Voir, regarder, contempler, admirer avec curiosité une chose ou un moment aussi futile qu’il puisse paraitre, est un pouvoir d’une beauté absolue. 

Mon processus de création se suffit à un moment, une idée qui va se préciser et se construire. Cet instant révélateur n’arrive pas aussi souvent que l’on souhaite néanmoins le travail parvient a y mettre son grain, ainsi le bruit d’une photo résonne enfin. 

Il existe d’autres moments plus rudes, comme celui ci, où parler de soi peut me déposer à la limite de l’angoisse. C’est un exercice quasi Kamikaze. il m’est impossible de sous-titrer, de légender mon travail. Mes images sont libres et la réflexion qui s’y accorde également.

Tous se résume à cet essentiel, cet oeil curieux, vicieux, sadique, admirateur, séducteur, rêveur, sur des choses, des lieux, des mondes et des individus les plus contrastés. Ma relation à la vie et à l’autre, m’ a permis d’exprimer l’immensité parfois complexe de l’univers dans l’art.

Mes photographies sont des tranches de vie où mon regard se fixe et je travaille pour acquérir la récompense de pouvoir les communiquer.    

— Catalina Sour Vasquez    


*Featured/top image: “Coca” (2015). Photo © Catalina Sour Vasquez.  

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