House of Sonia Rentsch by Paul Barbera

Barbera’s interest is to go out and meet people. The photography is almost a by-product.

Photographer Paul Barbera travels the world, documenting the work places and homes of creatives. One of his most recent visits included that to Sonia Rentsch. When looking at these photographs, one can’t deny that here must live a person with an enormous eye for detail. Every little corner and shelf functions as a stage for nick nacks, art works and creative outbursts. A Q&A with the still-life artist:

Where do you live?
Melbourne, Australia. My apartment is tucked in a secret little suburb that most people don't even know exists – between a huge cemetery, a park and a bike track. It's one of my favourite places in the world.

Do you also work from home?
I sure do. Unless I'm on set, in which case you'll find me in a photographer’s studio moving things by the millimetre till they appear 'just so'. It is my belief that a good working space should have incredible light, windows that open wide for fresh air and huge bookshelves to fill with inspirations. My house fulfils that brief to a tee. I often work late and it's also super to open one door and fall into bed through another. I wouldn't have it any other way.

What’s your favourite place in the house?
The bathroom – it's a green and luscious little jungle with a huge open shower over a sunken bathtub. I can open the old window to a private lane way full of pot plants and the morning light is the perfect wake-up call. I busted the neighbour’s kids peeking once but I could only laugh. What's to hide?

What’s your favourite thing to do at home?
In summer – sit by the open windows in the lounge with my legs up, a cup of tea and a good magazine (I'm big about open windows). In winter – sit by the open fire with a friend, a whisky and an evening ahead.

Do you have any pets?
No time for pets. Like kids, I'd need be to be home at certain hours and they expect things like meals. I'm bad enough at fulfilling those requisites for myself. For the moment, I am very happy not to be tied to anything. Like this city and this apartment, the time will come to leave. The world’s a big place, why not see more of it. Melbourne will always be here with my attractive friends and my Soy Flat Whites.

All photos by Paul Barbera.


Check out the book we published about Paul Barbera’s work: Where They Create.

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