Verena Blok (Soest, NL, 1990) uses her camera to record the day-to-day life of twelve-year-old Natalia. The little Polish girl poses for the camera, or is snapped in passing, in both idyllic landscapes and bleak interiors.
The book, I Smell Like Rain, draws an honest and intimate portrait of Natalia and her world. She lives with her father and four brothers in the rural village of Czarnówka in northeast Poland, a place where Blok herself spent her childhood summers. The beauty of the surrounding countryside contrasts sharply with the dreariness of the village. For Blok, Natalia is the impersonation of this paradox.
The book gives pride of place to Natalia, the only female in an all male household, devoting large, double page spreads to her. In Sybren Kuiper’s design the socially dominant brothers and father are shown in small tucked away booklets inside the book.