Interview: Photographer Elena Aldea (Romania)
Can you tell us a little about you?
My name is Elena Aldea and I am from Romania, more precisely from Brasov an old town from Transylvania. I am a self-taught photographer and I like to create storytelling pictures.
How and when did you get into photography?
I was very young when I saw my grandparents resting after a tiring day of field work. It was summer and the day had been hot and long. They were both standing on the doorstep with their feet roughly cracked in a bowl of cold water. Working the land barefoot for a whole summer day, every day was cruel. The only way to calm them down was to use cold water. I was looking at both of them. They were both silent. Grandpa smoked a cigarette made of tobacco grown in his yard and Grandma held her hands in her lap. They both had rough hands and cracked legs. Nobody was talking. Each was immersed in his own mind. They seemed strangers to each other and to everything around them.
This was the moment when I instinctively understood that the image was precious and meant something, something that only the image can show ...... because a picture is worth 1000 words, right?
A few years later I found an old camera around the house ….. and so I began my journey into the world of photography. With the image of my grandparents in mind.
What does photography mean to you?
What does photography mean to me? Not being a painter (the truth is, I haven't tried to paint yet :)), photography and digital construction are the only ways that I can "draw" what my mind sees. There are situations in which I am haunted for months, sometimes for years, by an idea and I have not yet found a way to reproduce it. so I'm waiting to gather all the necessary elements.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
My style ..... I don't know if my style can be categorized. At first I only worked in black and white. Then I started working with colors and from themes, let's say classics, I started to approach other themes. I think in the end I can say that my work is rather non-conformist and I can't even say that I follow all the rules. My imagination has no limits so I have no reason to respect certain styles or standards in photography or digital composition. In the end, the result matters, doesn't it?
Where do you get inspiration from?
I know it sounds outdated but I'm inspired by everything around me. Starting with the classic and beautiful works of art such as paintings to anything I could see or think on a typical Monday for example. The difference that ultimately helps me create my own style is the fact that all these sources of inspiration are adapted and interpreted as I "see" them. For example, with the help of classic paintings, I made a beautiful Royal Pet series, in which I used Sphynx cats. I assure you that these kinde of portraits are unique and very beautiful :).
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
Depends. In situations where I have a certain project in mind, such as the Flamingo Dream series, I know very clearly what I want. Once I have all the elements I can start working. But in the same way I often start from an element that I like very much - a model, an animal, an object and I see what comes out. These are the kind of works where I adapt and improvise as the work progresses.
Studio, on location or both?
I usually work in the studio. It is an environment in which you can control many aspects. And of course it's more practical because you have everything you need there. But sometimes I also work on location.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
I started photography as a hobby and at that time I didn't think about selling or building a career in this field. But for some years now I have been participating in various international photography salons and competitions. My works began to be accepted, rewarded and to my great surprise sold. At this point I can say that most of my works are for sale.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I remember that at one of the sessions we needed a mask and we thought of getting it in the most natural way ...... we put on the model’s face a very mentholated toothpaste. Because of the menthol, her tears began to flow. The result was as expected ...... the mask had dried, then cracked. The major but unexpected effect was the mark left by her tears. What we didn't take into account was the fact that the toothpaste had dried very hard, so hard that it could barely be washed off the face.
During another photo shoot I had a project in which the model was painted with a silver paint, including part of her long hair. The effect and the session were successful, but when we bought the paint we didn't think to take a water-based one so we took an oil-based one. The skin was cleansed, but the hair was almost impossible. She almost had to cut her hair.
Such things also happen when I think more about the end result than how I can get there.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I'm not very good at the technical part and I can't say that I know the differences between the 2 brands. I think they're both just as good. I work with Canon - a model that is no longer manufactured :), and with 2 lenses with different focal lengths. The equipment is important of course but I consider that the eyes, the mind and the soul are more important. You need to know how to see and understand what you want before pressing the camera button.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I don't know if I'm able to give advice. Instead, I think you can feel if photography, in the classic or digital way, is for you or not. Whoever wants to make photography will surely find solutions to overcome all the obstacles that will appear along the way. That's because I strongly believe that whoever wants to do something is looking for solutions and whoever doesn't want to, will look for excuses.
What do you think of our new magazine?
I've known your magazine for a long time. I'm glad you started considering other types of photography besides fashion photography. And thank you very much for this opportunity.
www.elenaaldea.com, instagram: Elenaaldeaphotograph, Fb: Elena Aldea Photography
On the beach
In the village