Thursday, 9 December 2010

is there life in space?

I guess most people ask this question while looking at the stars on a cloudless night. Most of the times the answer fails to bounce back from the idle sky. 
 
And there are 2 definitions describing the stars above, 2 that I prefer…

It was probably Justin Zackham who wrote that the stars are actually cracks into the floor of paradise. Quite beautifully said but I am not a religious person (perhaps I’ll elaborate some other time) so I don’t know how this is going to be an answer to the question…

The other definition, by John Fowles, says that the stars are indecipherable thoughts from other distant worlds. And this is, by far, closer to an answer for me than the previous definition. But I can still found flaws even here because these so called distant worlds are just so damn far away. Even if we had the technology required for travelling millions of light years, by the time we get there we are already dead so we won’t be able to meet, communicate or relate to other forms of life… 

And then…when a cloudless night conquered all surroundings, as bright light was falling from the stars carpeting the ground, I found myself tormented by these thoughts. And I can’t recall if it was because of the mesmerizing moon or the cigarette in my hand that I came up with my own answer. But I know, for sure, that I saw myself up there, wondering among the stars in a clear moment of immaculate honesty. And while the body was pinned into reality, fantasy took my soul on an edifying journey through the boundless sky.

It was a miracle stretching out to each and every star and pick up an answer for every existential question that astonished human kind over the time. It was all there… It was all there to be forgotten, for I found the answer to my question by discovering that every star is actually a lost soul, on the same journey that I was. I was soon to realize that we were all up there numbly floating in a desperate search of our soul mate. We don’t care that much about the meaning of life or the existence of divinity. We care about our inner peace that only our loved one can bring. At the end of it, love is the answer.

And while caged into real life, we look up through the bars in front of us, to find love. And the thought, that one day we’ll find our soul mate, gives us strength to fight our everyday problems.

So, yeah…I guess there is life in space. We are all up there in search of it. And it is because of the immensity of space that it’s so hard to find your soul mate. But sometimes… a shooting star fills your heart with joy and hope. By seeing it, you know that someone found true love and is no longer wondering through space, but gets to finally live…

is there life in space? Puiestii de Sus, 2007


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

ona I

And then Ona came…

Arriving in Milan from Vilnius where she is represented by Major Ambers agency, she needed few photos to be added to her book and I was the designated photographer for an early Saturday shooting.

This time, I had a crew ready to work with me. Valentina Marzona was in charge with hair and make-up while styling was provided by Elena Silvia Bara.

By Friday night everything in the studio was set. And then…I received an e-mail from the Ona’s agency in Milan to postpone the shooting for 2 pm. And that was no good news since I had no idea if the crew, I managed to gather, will be able to adjust to a changed schedule. Fortunately the girls had left me worried for just a couple of hours before confirming that the change was no problem for them.

So, we got to work…

Now, looking back… I do not consider this particular session to be a complete success but it was an interesting experience. We came up with some great photos and it was really great working with a team but there was something missing…maybe the right alignment of the stars, I’ll never know…


Anyways…here she is!


model: Ona Marija Auskelyte
agency: Future Models Milan
make-up: Valentina Marzona
styling: Elena Silvia Bara
photographer: yours truly

ona #1

ona #2

ona 3#

ona II

ona #4

ona #5

ona #6



Ona III

ona #7

ona #8

ona #9



ona marija auskelyte for Future Models, Milan 2009



Saturday, 20 November 2010

hail to the max...


It was early September when a second shooting for Future Models was organized. 

I was full of ideas and he was a new face from Germany.

We instantly had a great connection and while heading back to my improvised studio, we discussed on various subjects. The thing that I enjoy the most when socializing with people from different countries is to talk about the first words I heard in his/her language and different habits of people from that particular country. Come to think of it, the first word I have ever heard and learned in german, was “ja”. Nothing out of the ordinary, I guess. But there is a funny story behind all this, a story that won’t be revealed just now. He knows it though :)

As it happens, he is the first foreigner I’ve met, which here means not Romanian, who was curious enough to ask few things about Romanian culture. Responding to his questions was quite a challenge…probably because after 50 years of communism and 20 years of chaos there is little left to be said.


Anyhow…back to the shooting...

For me this shooting was sort of a turning point as it became an experiment with light and darkish background. And since I was thrilled with the session’s outcome, this idea is to evolve into a trademark for future shootings. On the other hand, the agency didn’t go crazy for this and, as a result, they’ve chosen just a couple of images to be used for his book. I didn’t mind. I was happy. So was Maximilian. And that is of most importance.

There is one more thing to say now: hail to the max!


P.S. The second word I’ve learned in german, by the way, was “apotheker”…



hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max again...

hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max, Milan 2009



hail to the max one last time...

hail to the max, Milan 2009


hail to the max, Milan 2009

Maximilian for Future Models, Milan 2009






Thursday, 11 November 2010

we only have one planet...


Nowadays if you don’t have the facebook application on your mobile device it’s like you’re living in the Stone Age. The same thing goes for your active involvement in saving the planet, you know…green stuff.

So I got involved.

While visiting the WWF’s website I started the application that helps you understand your energy consumption and CO2 emissions, my own personal footprint calculator. I got a little excited at first but soon wondered what the hell was I doing?
There are some questions that I couldn’t quite understand their point but I’ll always wonder, since that question was not included in the questionnaire, if it counts whether you recycle or not using the local selective collection programs (and I am sure those programs are not available for all communities worldwide). Some general guidelines of recycling emphasize that by recycling 50 kg of paper you get to save one tree. And that counts in my opinion.

But the big disappointment came at the end of this test, when results were revealed. And since I live in Italy, at least for now, the test itself was adapted to the Italian lifestyle.

Apparently the amount of CO2 I put out yearly is somewhere around 15,9 tons. For just one year? How do I manage to do that? But how do I do it is of no importance because I am, according to the information on WWF’s website, way above the Italian average emission which is around 9,2 tons of CO2 per year/person.

And that is something I seriously argue.

I remember this as an example of their involvement… Radiohead playing in Milan, in 2008. We were a little late because of an incident on the highway…and therefore, me and my friend, decided to go for a parking space downtown, close to the event site. When we got there we had a terrible shot of reality. No parking spaces available. Everywhere you looked there was a car. Even on the sidewalks. So, we’ve missed the beginning of the show trying to park the car...it took us about half an hour. Later, talking about this experience, this one guy said to me: “that wasn’t so environmental friendly from you…to take the car at a Radiohead concert and trying to park it downtown”. Now, I know that this decision is quite the opposite of the band’s statement regarding the pollution, but it was sort of a crisis. And I wonder…all those cars parked there, where mine as well? When you go to see a concert by a band who militates for saving the environment, all of the sudden you get involved…but only by talking. Because probably that guy who criticized my decision…had the car parked right close to the gates of the event…

And this is just one example….I am not about to enumerate right now all those environmental discussions I’ve had, that ended with a “what the fuck do I care”…


Anyway…I was intrigued by this poor score and I started to think that there may be 2 possibilities…

Maybe the data introduced by the ones who made the test is not that accurate, since …you know…we live in a green era and getting a great result at this kind of things its a must. That way you can sleep well at night thinking that you did your part.

The other thing that pops into my mind is that this result is slightly exaggerated, in a negative way of course, as a measure to determine people to take action.

So, to get back to the point, according to this, the worldwide average emissions of a person is somewhere around 5,6 tons of CO2 per year and while the average emissions of an Italian is around 9,2 tons, mine is 15,9 tons! Jesus…am I a bad guy?

I guess so, because apparently I am using the resources of 4,2 planets!

Wait a minute… What? 4,2 planets? So I guess if I were to live alone on this planet….to consume whatever it is that I consume in terms of food, energy and everything else…if I were to use my car to drive around on an empty planet I would still destroy the earth? This planet can’t sustain me even if I live alone? No…I’ll need 4,2 planets just for me!

Now that’s another thing I seriously argue…

Being seriously stressed by this issue I started to ask myself…what is this all about?

Is this about saving the environment? Because if it is…why do us like individuals have to get involved and really make changes to improve life on earth while big companies or governments care about their money first of all? Who made this way of life possible? Who exactly said we need to develop our society up to the point where this development is actually killing us?

Take as an example the overall result of the recent Copenhagen environmental summit. That’s what governments, who can actually make a difference, do for saving the planet. As a curiosity…in the mid 80’s the US environmental budget was around 2 billion USD/year …nowadays the Obama administration proposed a budget of $10.5 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency! And still little is done.

Take as an example what airlines companies, especially the low cost companies, do for saving the planet. They offer you the possibility to balance the effect of the carbon emitted from your flight by paying an extra tax (the amount varies or does not exists). That’s ok I guess….if you want to get involved…but what happens if a passenger decides not to pay the extra money?  Does the company itself balance the impact their flight has on the planet? I guess not.

Take as an example what cars companies do for the environment. For the first quarter of 2010 Audi Ag has reported a 25,9% increase of their new cars sales, toping Mercedes Benz with their 248 500 new cars sold. BMW is still number one in the premium segment while Volkswagen Group sold more than 3.5 million cars in the first half of 2010.  And that means a lot of money. Still…little is done. The difference between a Euro 2 engine, sold in late 90’s and the beginning of 2000, and a Euro 5 engine, sold today, is somewhere around 20 – 30 grams of CO2 / km. That’s all they can do in ten years time.

And the list of examples can go on and on…

I for one…I have to resent the result of this so called footprint calculator. I admit that my way of living has an impact on the planet but I am definitely not destroying it just because I own a car, I buy an electronic device every 5 – 6 years, I eat tomatoes during winter and I travel once every 2 years by plane.

And most of all…people usually accept what their told to do. I can assure you that if we didn’t had gigantic 3d led plasma whatever tv sets…we won’t be missing them. If we didn’t had millions of bottled sodas to choose from…we would pick out just the one that it is. If we didn’t had to live in a system build around short terms loans…we wouldn’t feel this urge to change our car every 3 years… And so on…

So right now…I think that if I were to get involved, to do something for the environment I would very much like to do absolutely nothing. And I have just one reason for doing nothing…this way, I am sure we are all going to suffer the consequences of our way of living, and one day it will all be simply vanished. And while in hell paying for our sins…you’ll be crying for your money and I’ll be smiling for justice is finally done.

I choose to simply care. 


 mankind’s most beautiful creation …came a little late - Tulcea county, 2010






Saturday, 6 November 2010

poignée de main...


Ever noticed how little it is needed to have a great time?

Take these ingredients for instance: one A710 camera, a bunch of guys playing and a lot of fun!

What you need, first of all, is to let go… Forget about all your worries, your boss or some useless deadline, financial or social status, insurance bill or the meter of your parking space, forget all about it! This is about having fun!

These guys will show you how to do it.

Found them right in the center of the city, close to one of Milan’s main attractions. And since my legs are not designed for playing football, I borrowed a photo camera from a friend of mine and joined the game. However, after the second ball that passed right close to my head I decided it was safer to stay aside. They had no intention to harm me, I am sure :)



poignée de main, Milan 2007



































And I wonder… What if life was like a game? Who made it so serious anyway?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

let's go free...

It was 14 of September. A day that started just like any other. But it wasn’t.  

Born in Burkina Faso, Abba was living in Milan with his family. He was 19 years old on that fatidic day, when, outside a bar, he was beaten to death by the two bartenders, allegedly for stealing a pack of biscuits. While blinded by an unjustified rage against the young boy, words, like “fuckin’ nigga”, where flying out of their mouths as a clear statement of what was actually all about.

That day ended tragically. Not for Abba who was killed, but for the entire community.

Few days after this, demonstrations of the African community started on the streets of the city. With little support from the authorities, to this day, they struggle to keep alive the memory of Abba, to raise awareness among Italians by fighting racism and xenophobia.

But it was Pietro Massarotto, president of NAGA (asylum, refugees and torture victims’ center) who said: “L'Italia è leader nel settore della repressione degli stranieri. Siamo molto creativi”. And this makes you think if anything even changed…

In case you wonder…the two bartenders serve a 15 years and 4 months sentence.



let's go free, Milan 2008




Monday, 11 October 2010

a disobedient one...

In a repellent world, a disobedient one allows himself to dream past the straight lines of a shallow society… Beyond the compulsory rules, there is no need for anything else but the truth. And here, the truth comes from within a person. Lies, once covering our deepest feeling like useless masks to create an image, change their status from success guarantees to frivolous behavior. What exactly have we become?

What the world lacks today is sincerity. Our childish innocence is altered on the way to maturity. By whom or to what purpose is still an enigma, but finding out that you’ll be left behind or outside a so called developed society, scares the shit out of you and forces you to accept a change that, not only you did not wanted, but most of the times you can’t actually say it happened.

So, here we are…full grownups who forgotten to smile or to dream of what we once desired, delivering to the world our own pitiful lies that helps us carry on and ruins any hope of self salvation.

One could wonder…

Could be that a disobedient one is actually incapable of growing up? Could be that he remains a child, with his heart filled with all those ‘childish dreams’ and a mind that fails to understand the significance of adulthood?

Could be I say.

But I am lucky to be that disobedient child, trapped inside a grownup body… and I laugh at your mature problems for I am allowed to dream!


Josephine and her blue dreams, Varese 2008

 She speaks for me here…

Thursday, 7 October 2010

according to my iTunes library...


Daydreaming works better on an autumn day…

1. Oceans by Pearl Jam from MTV Unplugged, 1992
2. Shimmering by Ketil Bjornstad from Samotnosc W Sieci ost, 2006
3. The Last Emperor Theme (variation 1) by Ryuichi Sakamoto from The last emperor, 1987
4. Hidden Track by Craig Armstrong from As If To Nothing, 2002
5. The Only One by The Black Keys from Brothers, 2010
6. Clockwork (Shantel vs Mahala Rai Banda Remix) by Mambayaga Project from Buddha Bar Vol 7, 2005
7. Summer Love (Beyond There Remix) by Billy Wright from Nightmares On Wax - My Definition, 2006
8. O Children by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds from The Lyre Of Orpheus, 2004
9. Hurry Slowly by Nils Petter Molvaer from NP3, 2002
10. Inion (doughter) by Afro Celt Sound System from Volume 1: Sound Magic, 1996

...and a cup of tea as well...





Wednesday, 6 October 2010

5 reasons...


I was once asked: why 5 reasons?

I guess this had nothing to do with the Fifth World or the five elements of the universe, but it can vaguely be explained by Discordianism’s Law of Five, which states that “all things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5”. And while contemplating the unfurled image divinely laid in front of wandering steps, it all suddenly made sense as I, mesmerized by the gravitating pattern around the noble integer, was ushered by frantically senses, all colliding into instinct, to grasp the fugitive moment.

The concept was just an absorbing instant away…

Erelong, and for no obvious purpose, the surroundings rapidly dissipated into ashen insignificance offering an egotistical reason to seize the scenery as a way to justify my mythological meaningless disturbance of such a serene and intimate moment. With the opportunity defined, and all elements aligned to nourish my idiocy, spiraling into factual reasoning seemed the right deed while arguing my own statement – I was there, in that particular place, on that particular moment, to capture this particular scene…for a reason.

Even so, the impelling reason is still unwilling to reveal itself to me…


Beyond any explanation or given interpretation there is still the photograph itself. And the seized moment will surely state its message through time and transcended understandings.



5 reasons, Milan 2007


Monday, 4 October 2010

wanna...

wanna meet, Como 2008




wanna joyride, Como 2008



 

wanna play...



wanna play, Como 2008



wanna play too, Como 2008

wanna look down on me...




wanna look down on me, Como 2008



wanna be...

wanna be, Como 2008


Oana in a unexpected photo session, Como 2008


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

the first shooting session…


This took place on the 4th of July 2009. What a day for a shooting, isn’t it?

Anyway…with no experience whatsoever in a photo session, just my camera, one softbox light bought the day before, no tripod, flashlight or light meter and scared as shit I started this shooting aiming to impress the agency that tested me.

The model, Alexzander, represented by ScoopModels in Copenhagen, was in Milan for the summer. So we met for a few hours on a sunny Saturday morning. After a bottle of Coke and 2 ice creams, we came up with 17 photos that I presented to his agency here in Milan. FutureModels that is.

Even if the photos were slightly ruined by the post-processing, they were pleased with the result and decided to use some of the photos, by rotation, for his book. A couple of images are used by his agency in Denmark - that’s where Copenhagen is :) - as well.

Having said that… I present you… Alexzander!






 
Alexzander for FutureModels, Milan 2009




Monday, 20 September 2010

the decision / decizia...



That moment we all go through, when no escape seems conceivable, when everything suffocates you and your only wish is to escape, to forget, to cease any emotion. To leave from the surrounding world, from everyone gazing you with their expectations, those who feel unsatisfied when you disappoint them. Is that moment when you are by yourself, just as you are. You and your own thoughts...




the decision / decizia - constanta, 2004


Acel moment, prin care cu totii trecem, cand toate portitele de scapare par inchise, cand totul te sufoca si iti doresti doar sa evadezi, sa uiti, sa nu mai simti nimic. Sa te indepartezi de lumea ce te inconjoara, de toti cei ce te privesc, ce au asteptari de la tine si sunt nemultumiti cand ii dezamagesti. Acel moment cand esti doar tu, asa cum esti. Tu si gandurile tale...


Sunday, 19 September 2010

and then I suddenly remembered…

Late last year, on a tuesday, I saw Parlea Brothers Quintet in concert.

It was cold outside, as I recall, but they quickly warmed things up with their music. 

This was fun!







Parlea Brothers Quintet... 
Catalin Milea saxophone
Sebastian Burneci trumpet
Sorin Romanescu guitar
Adrian Flautistu bass
 Matt Smith drums


Monday, 13 September 2010

echoes of my exposition…

21 photographs of mine were the subject of an exposition at Cafepedia in Bucharest. As this was a general overview on my work, images from “Smog City”, “Odyssey” and “You and me” series were exhibited.

In the past days, 3 images (pictured) from the ones exhibited were sold and 3 others are reserved. There are still 15 prints available! So hurry up if you want to get your hands on one of them!

Details will be sent upon request.


nice thoughts
weird funny looking pigeons
silence again







Tuesday, 31 August 2010

this may very well be the first article about my work...




…as it presents my first exhibition, that is currently taking place at Cafepedia in Bucharest, it is, of course, in romanian. So…for those who didn’t yet learn romanian, let me explain in few words what it says.

Overall, it is an invitation to visit the exhibition and explore the world as I capture it in 21 photographs. The article speaks about the reasons why I left my home country in pursuit of this wild dream of mine…to become a professional photographer…internationally! It's also briefly revealing some of my accomplishments as an artist, like the photos published in the “Il Fotografo” magazine.

This article has been published by many of the romanian magazines and free-time guides, like Viva!, 121, petocuri, mayra, 1801 and others.

Again, for all this, for all the excitement surrounding me these days, I have to thank mostly to Mirunel and Alina who made this dream come true. You guys are amazing!

Having said that…don’t forget you can visit the exhibition until 5th of September! And you can also support my work by buying prints!

Cheers!