"I am made up of everything I have seen", said Matisse at the end of his life, and this beautiful turn of phrase describes the way Irene Peña goes about crafting a picture. Through her untamed images runs a deep river of knowing and seeing, of filling up her mind with dresses,light and shadow, movement and haze. The photographer's craft reaches back in time from the precise moment an idea came to be, sometimes in collaboration with a designer or an artist. Irene takes that idea and develops it with the trained eye of an editor: backgrounds, locations, lighting, models, colors, and poses begin to fall into place. There is always a pleasure in rediscovering her images once the shoot is over; in this new calm she continues her work of acutely observing, every little square a possibility of beauty.
Born in Costa Rica, Irene began studying painting and graphic design, which morphed into a career in photography. She studied at Santa Monica College, in California, and after a stint as an advertising photographer, she turned to the world of fashion photography in Los Angeles. Right now, Irene is based in Costa Rica, where she continues her innovative work, using analog and digital cameras, with established designers and new Costa Rican talent.