BEHIND THE LENS
MORRILLO, PANAMA BEHIND THE LENS OF SOFIA VERZBOLOVSKIS
Photographer Sofía Verzbolovskis is the perfect embodiment of global citizenship. Born in Panama to a Panamanian mother and Brazilian father of Belgian and Lithuanian descent, it was a volunteer trip to Ghana, Africa that revealed her calling for photography. She studied at Parsons, in Paris, and later graduated in Photojournalism from the International Center of Photography, in New York, from where she is currently based. True to her passions for globetrotting and photography, alongside her camara, she’s documented the most remote corners of the world.
Lifestyle photography is her specialty, and her work has appeared in prestigious publications such as The New Yorker Photo, The NewYork Times, The Washington Post, Copa Airlinesmagazine, Panorama of the Americas, Musée Magazine, and La Prensa. Although the camera will always be her best ally, she admits to a personal fondness for capturing moments with her phone. She never stops exploring, including within her own country. Here she shares one of her preferred recent discoveries: Playa Morillo, Panama.
What does Morrillo smell like?
A mixture of sea and jungle.
What does it taste like?
Best discovery of the trip?
To walk along the beach and discover the abstract designs left by snails moving in the sand.
If you had to pick one favorite thing from Morrillo, what would it be?
Two things: the sea and the sound of the howler monkeys we would hear at night. Awesome! (Unfortunately we were never able to see them though.)
What was your first impression of Morrillo?
If Morrillo had a filter, what would it be?
No filter needed. The colors themselves are striking.
When traveling to Morrillo, you can’t miss____.
Going to Fundación Agua y Tierra.
A typical food or drink?
The owner at the hotel where we stayed, Morrillo Beach Eco Resort, cooked delicious food, although it wasn’t typical food from the area. Since we were only there for three days, we didn’t have much time to explore other places, but definitely seafood!
Something everyone should know before visiting?
Ideally, go in a 4×4 car.
What is most unique about Morrillo, something you haven’t seen elsewhere?
On Morrillo beach, apart from some surfers and the occasional tourist, you don’t see anyone! It’s a mixture of sea and dense vegetation, it feels even a little wild. I love that it’s an extremely rural area with incomparable natural beauty.
What’s your definition of beauty?
For me, beauty is reflected in authentic places, people and moments. I don’t just see beauty in places typically considered idyllic. Wherever I am, I try to find something that catches my eye. For example, I remember standing at a gas station in Kaolack (a city in Senegal) last year, when a corner caught my eye that looked like someone set out to do a color study. The combination of blues and yellows were incredible to me!
What do you prefer- photographing someone you know or a stranger?
It depends. My photography focuses a lot on street photography, in which I’m constantly capturing people on the street, from afar, although they are only one element within the photo. As for portraits, for me it’s essential to spend at least a short while talking with the person before even taking out the camera.