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Rachel Irving

Artist's Statement

If anyone had asked me, as a child, how to catch a cloud and pin it down, I probably would have considered the question seriously. I would have concocted an elaborate fantasy involving evil spirits and friendly old souls and I would have made friends with the cloud. In my story, it would always evade capture because, for me, the best story has always been about the moment of escape.

When I take photographs, I am conscious that, once the moment of escape has passed by, it is too late. The child becomes aware, grows a tad older. There is a shift from the uncomfortable to the comfortable—and the dull. What is interesting is what happens in the flux, in the fleeting instant between breaths or the blink of an eye, before the evasion.

There is no point in pinning down a cloud. What is pinned down can’t make a proper story. Instead, I look for what is happening in my peripheral vision, around that corner, on the edge of town, before the wind blows, the sun comes up, before everything changes—or, thankfully, escapes.


Rachel Irving is a photographer who has never been pinned down. She has lived a nomadic life, moving between her native England, the United States, Canada and other European cities. Perhaps as a result of the constant movement, she is interested in the impermanent and the ephemeral—the fleeting emotions on children’s faces, the blurry edges of cities, natural, transitory lighting.

A resident of Toronto, Canada for three years now, Rachel is currently focused on portraiture and teaching aspiring photographers, young and old. Students who are interested in the elemental and the elusive will enjoy Rachel’s passionate, but casual, style.

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  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada