Somebody asked me the other days what do I do with my pictures. ‘Same thing you do with a painting you had bought some time ago’ – flashed the answer in my mind but never to be said out loud, in this way avoiding even the slightest form of sarcasm. Later on, while I was driving on the Trnsylvanian hills, this question came to my mind and I realized the right question is not what do I do with my pictures but what do the pictures do with me.
The photography is a hobby/profession that can change you dramatically. It can open your eyes and make you see deeper than just surfaces and appearances. It makes you an observer of everything that surrounds you. And these two things are the most important changes the photography did and still does for me. Before that I was completely unaware of the things that were living right next to me, of all the small details my eyesight was able to capture. My camera came with a magical frame that is always present in front my eyes and makes me notice everything. I thought that light was just something that makes it possible to see. I thought that birds were all gray, but in fact they are richly colored. I only knew a few kinds of flowers, but after photographing them, I became interested and learned that in a very small area of the Carpathian Mountains there are more than 1600 species.
Like most of the photographers I started with landscape. I wanted to capture the beauty of nature, the amazing blue sky with its white and fluffy clouds, the tall and craggy peaks, the turmoil of a waterfall, the tranquility of a field of sun flowers or the menacing precipices. Now, most of these pictures end up as screensaver on my laptop, many times making me to look at them and admire them like a father admires his children. They bring me peace for a few seconds or minutes and even I end up to be bemused by the magical beauty of some pictures.
Then I started to take pictures of different tourist landmarks, some of them more or less famous, more or less interesting. Once I had started doing this I noticed the beautiful architectural elements and I was curious to find out what type of architecture it was; so I went back home and I studied till I’ve learnt them. In the end the photography is the one that made me to go and study and not a teacher.
As a joke, I remember one of my tourists who came to Romania for a cultural tour asking me ‘Daniel, why do you keep taking pictures of each place we visit, don’t you already have pictures of this place?’ I told my nice tourist that I have hundreds of pictures of this place but never at this exact hour. She was a little bit confused.
Once I was in the cities for tourist attractions I noticed that many things happen around me. So I was introduced to the street photography. It is here where I started to chase the action, the events and the life; a kid running after a ball, a girl playing splashing the water of a fountain, a man taking a breath on a bench or two lovers kissing themselves. After a while I realized most of the people like to be photographed so I started to interact with them. And BANG, I was hit! The people are the most important subject in photography. They are so divers and their feelings can be so different that a photographer will never be able to capture everything about people. Never. And sometimes these pictures can be very intense, they can bring happiness but they can bring sadness and even tears.
In 2006 I was touring with a lovely retired Canadian couple, both of them in the 70s. I asked them if they want to take a detour for a better view of the rural area and receiving an affirmative reply we dived into a forgotten territory. The road, or better said a dirt track, took us through mountains and old villages. At the outskirts of a village we noticed an old Romanian couple, also in the 70s, plowing with an iron plow dragged by two oxen. We pulled over and talked with them. The old Romanian couple told us about their hard life, their small pensions or about the farm work. The whole story was told with sadness but they never lost their dignity. My tourists, deeply touched, gave them some money. I was touched too, as I saw in these two people my grandparents who worked exactly like them. Once back in the car, we all had tears in our eyes. The pictures I took then, showing two old people, still working in the 70s, is one of my precious memories.
Beautiful women, which in Romania are easy to find,;; plentiful,’’’ every where you look,;;; in every café, shop or even in hay fields.
I continued to take picture of old people, different craftsmen, poor families, events or beautiful women which in Romania are easy to find, they are every where you look, in every cafe, restaurant, shop or even in hay fields. Each time I try to create a mood with a a different approach or I try to take advantage of light. I try to accentuate the wrinkles of an old woman like I would try to find there a trace of the hard life or like I would try to bring to surface a secret long time forgotten. Sometimes I fail. Recently I was walking in a city of Transylvania with another photographer and we noticed a very beautiful young woman sitting on a bench. We started to ask ourselves whether to ask her the permission or to “steal” a shot of her. I took a couple of shots but just one of them proved good enough. I thought I managed to capture, beside her beauty, the thoughts, the feeling and even her slight sadness. Back home I realized pretty much all I had hoped to capture didn’t appear in my pictures. The young lady remained forever shrouded by mystery, a total enigma, a question never to be answered, a moment on a bench. And that’s why I like so much to take pictures, even when I fail I get something, I end up with a result I had never expected.
To conclude, I can say the photography made me to see the details, sometimes the soul, the stories behind the eyes or the funny world. And I really like it.
by Daniel Gheorghita
Licensed Tour Guide