I came across Vlad Dumitrescu’s My Romania project some time ago. MiraSh reminded me of him, saying that he was one of her favorite photographers.
And I said to myself, “Why not?” We know very little about our neighbors. And the perseverance and the love (I think there should be a lot of love here) with which this photographer shoots Romania, arouse some curiosity in me.
Who is behind “My Romania”?
Who is Vlad Dumitrescu?
If you had one wish which could become true, what would it be?
I would like to go back in time, for a summer let’s say, into a Romanian village from the interwar period. I saw so many wonderful photos from that time, that I would also like to discover it. The good taste with which people dressed, all the beautiful details of everything they did, the simplicity of the way of life and the beauty of all the habits … I would like to do this, first of all for the experience itself. And if I came back from there with some dear photos, I would be even happier!
What is a good photograph?
I think a good photo is one that makes you wish you were there at that particular moment as a witness to the story or one that conveys a strong emotion. An emotion that changes something little in you.
“It is the humans and not the places that make memories”. In this line of thinking, what are you trying to preserve with “My Romania”? Which is the thing that fuels the passion for this project?
Very soon after taking on photography, I started taking photos of people from the countryside. And since then, this kind of photography is the one I like the most. Unfortunately, some of the people I photographed over time are no longer with us. Some of them were good friends of mine. I like to think that somehow my photos will preserve small part of them. How they smiled, how they dressed, the habits they had, things like that. I think of my photos as an evidence of a way of life that will soon cease to exist. And somehow that gives me the energy to continue.
Tell us how did you start shooting? What does photography give you?
Since high school I started to travel very often through my country, Romania. I started discovering it and admiring its people and places. In 2008 I bought a camera from a cousin of mine. I started taking it on my trips. And that’s how it all started.
Photography gave me the courage to resign from the corporate world and do what I love. It made me travel more. It helped me meet many wonderful people. And still, it helps me express myself the best.
Your brightest childhood memory?
I fondly remember the holidays I spent with my grandparents. When, in the summer I was walking up all the hills near the town, and in winter I witnessed all the Christmas traditions. I am happy I lived during such beautiful times.
Where do you think the power of photography lies?
I am absolutely convinced that photography has a lot of power! I am proud my photos determined for many foreigners to come and visit Romania, a country they knew nothing about before. That these people were surprised by its beauties and many returned.
Where do you seek inspiration?
To be honest, I try to get out to take photos as often as I can. I find inspiration in the moments I meet and live.
Who is Vlad ithout camera in hands?
I am a 42-year-old man, married for 12 years, Maria’s father, a wonderful little girl of almost 3 years. I have a master’s degree in business management, which I never used. Since I resigned from a bank, in 2017, I have organized photo tours for travelers who want to know Romania. I like to travel, to meet new people, to read. That would be it, briefly.
What is the photographic project you would like to do?
I would like to start a project that will take me all over Romania and in which I will try to find everything that is still authentic. I would like to be involved in this project for at least a year. To find what is left to be found.
What makes you smile?
There are many things that can make me smile. First of all, my little girl Maria. It is incredible what a great sense of humor a little girl can have. She makes at least one good joke every day. I am also happy when, in my walks, I find an authentic subject that I really like. And I smile again when I come back to bring a print and they like it.
Who is the photographer you admire most? Why? Which is your favourite picture from his/her portfolio and why?
I don’t have a favorite photo, but I have several soul photographers. I could mention Joseph Berman, Ernest Bernea and Peter Korniss. They somehow determined me to wander the Romanian villages, to see how they will open in front of me. From their portfolio, as well as from mine, I can’t say there is a certain picture I like the most
What is the best advice you have received?
I think the best advice I ever received was to try in life to do what I like, not to get stuck in a comfort zone, because time passes quickly and if I don’t make a change the regrets will come.
Ask yourself a question and answer…
I think the question would be: what do I think that the most important thing in my photography is. And the answer is: respect for people. We must always remember that the subjects we photograph are not objects, but human beings, with feelings and that they do us a huge favor by agreeing to be photographed.
Interviewed by: Villy Goutova