by Editor Marius Cinteză
“Every photo I take is a challenge, every photo is a story, in every photo you put a little bit of your soul, the pictures are the revealed soul of the artist” - Adela Rusu
Adela Rusu is one of the most appreciated and awarded lady photographers in Romania. She was interested in photography since her childhood, but the first important step on this great creative adventure was done about 13 years ago. Since then, she has won more than 300 photography awards, but the most important one is the EFIAP/s distinction, the Silver Excellence rank from the International Federation of Photographic Art.
She conveys the stories and messages through the photography genres she enjoys the most: portrait, fashion, nude and photo essay. Her passion for photography is completed by the classes she teaches and where she shares her vision of photography with the students. I invite you to discover more about Adela Rusu and her remarkable projects in the interview below!
Adela, first of all I would like to thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions! To begin, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other jobs/projects you are involved in!
My name is Adela Rusu, I was born in Maramures County and I lived for the last 26 years in Oradea, Bihor County, Romania. I have graduated from the Polytechnic Institute of Cluj Napoca and I have a Master of Science in Painting and Multimedia at the Faculty of Art in Oradea. I spent 17 years of my life in my little gift shop, until one day when I felt like I needed a challenge and I wanted to make a new sense to my life! That challenge was the photography! Living again the moments of my childhood, I realized that I had a permanent contact with photography, in an indirect way, at first: my father's uncle was passionate about photography, he had a photo lab, he took us all the photos at all stages of our lives. Then, I won a Smena 8 camera at school Olympics, which for many years stood quietly on a shelf as it was going to tell me that it would come a day when it would awaken my interest again. And that happened in 2006 when I set up an online store and needed photos for the gifts I designed. I have enrolled in some photography courses for this and since then, I started my great creative adventure!
For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with the photography?
It started as a challenge and became a burning passion and a new lifestyle! This world of photography is my world, the world in which I find myself, the world in which I can best express myself, I love those fractions of a second of creativity when I use the camera, they give me excitement and always motivate me to be better, more intuitive, more creative. Then, I love processing the photos with my personal touch to highlight the message!
What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
Each new day is an experience. Every meeting with good photographers, every photography camp or workshop I participate in, each article read about life and other photographers’ experience or every wonderful photo that I view are all experiences that influence me.
When have you realized that you would like to follow a career in photography?
In life you need to be careful about the signs around you that guide your steps in the right direction to follow for the joy of your soul! I was waiting for the moment of my change in life, and it came when needed and when I was ready for it! In 2008, after attending some photography courses, by a beautiful happening of the moment I felt that this is the way I want to go on. I have started to study a lot, read books, study photo albums and portraiture works of famous photographers, participate in workshops and photo camps, participate in national and international photo art salons, where I won prizes and that came as a reward for my work and a recognition of the value of my photos.
How do you maintain and grow your passion for photography?
By love, love motivates you! Every photo I take is a challenge, every photo is a story, in every photo you put a little bit of your soul, the pictures are the revealed soul of the artist!
Can you please describe in a few words your photographer philosophy and mission?
As I said, photography became a way of life for me, I imagine compositions, I like to create scenes and visual stories that become alive in my pictures. I like the colors in photography, the mood, the romantic attitudes, the beauty and the joy. I also like to capture the street life with its stories and feelings, joys and disappointments. My favorite genres in photography are: portrait, fashion photography, nude and photo essay. I wish to convey this passion and also the way to see, observe and create!
Adela, you are one of the most appreciated and awarded lady photographers in Romania. What significance do these awards have for you and your career and how did they influence your artistic vision? What was the most important prize / distinction so far?
The awards are a recognition of my work, a palpable evidence that my pictures have enjoyed, produced the emotion and the impact among many of the photos in the competitions! They give me satisfaction and motivate me to go further, I have gathered over 300 awards that I have enjoyed and I am very happy about! The most important one is EFIAP/s distinction, the Silver Excellence rank from the International Federation of Photographic Art, one of the largest photographic art associations in the world. This distinction is obtained based on the accepted photos and awards won at the international photo salons.
The portraiture, the photography genre that you also enjoy, is the preferred genre among many photographers. What do you think that makes your portrait works different?
Indeed, I really like the portraits and the photos conveying stories. I like scenarios and life stories, I like to capture mood, emotions and joy. I love the colors and I love challenges! I try different approaches through composition, creativity, further processing and I try to put my personal touch on every photo!
What do you think are the top three secret ingredients for a remarkable portrait? What are the main features of a successful portrait photographer?
First of all, to convey a message. Then to transport the viewer into a story, to highlight the beauty of the soul and the joy of living!
Photo essay is also another area of interest for you. What makes you so drawn to this type of photography?The philosophy behind the image is the great challenge and this makes me so drawn to photo essay. You need to know how to make it as creative as possible to give value to photography and to turn your photo into an artwork!
Where do you look for to find inspiration for the stories you want to convey by your essay photo works? What inspires you?
The passage of time, fragments of life, fragments of thoughts and dreams that you can translate into images through faces and symbols inspire and provoke me the most!
One of your last pursuits in the field of photography is to teach, to share your experience with others. What do you think are the challenges of teaching photography?
I feel the greatest satisfaction when I share my vision of photography with my students, when I try to inspire their passion for photography, the passion to see, feel, create and translate the soul into images! From my point of view, the photography is like a soul therapy! It is a special world of colors, dreams, creation, a world in which you can escape, a world created by you only! It depends only on you how you explore it and how you reveal it!
You once said that “people enliven the photography” and most of your photos are with and about people, whether it's studio-shot or street scene. How do you choose people to be part of your compositions? What human traits or personalities do you try to highlight?
I choose the people who feel, who vibrate, who know how to convey emotions, who know how to communicate their mood of the moment, or their feelings! I am a positive person and I like to communicate with positive people!
Can you please tell us something more about your workflow for portrait photography?
When shooting portraits in studio or outdoor I always set before the shooting: theme, outfits, makeup, hairstyle, accessories and props. I set up a meeting with the model to agree on the details about shooting and how to express them! New challenges always arise, there are new ideas coming up that must be speculated and recorded!
The success of model shooting sessions depends heavily on the model skills, on the one hand, but also on your “stage director” skills, on the other hand. How do you manage to successfully communicate with the models, to make them fit in your story and to get the most of the mood from their performance in front of the camera?
The communication is very important and this comes from own experience. The examples given to the model by translating myself into the role model, the mood and atmosphere created during a photo session, the psychical integration into a story, the patience and perseverance - they all lead to successful shootings!
Adela, for some time you have been a member of the jury of some prestigious national and international photography competitions. What are the main challenges for you as a jury member?
As a member of national or international juries, you take a huge responsibility! You have to be objective and to appreciate the image from the compositional and artistic points of view. The great challenge comes from the diversity of photos you visualize, diversity of styles, genres and post-processing!
Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what is the gear do you use (camera, lenses, tripod,etc.)?
The gear is important, but not a priority! The most important thing is the vision, creativity and how you can use light. I do not have a sophisticated photo kit: I work with Nikon D700, lenses 24-70mm / 2.8, 70-300mm and fisheye 10.5mm / 2.8. The fast lenses help a lot to create a unique story in the photos!
What would be your favorite photo from the last years? Please tell us the story behind it.
I have several favorite photos, but my dearest photo is a portrait ("Poetry") who was awarded with many gold medals and which represents a beautiful and elegant lady selling flowers with a lovely red rosette basket behind a sprinkled window rain! In real life, that beautiful florist is a mother of five children who earn their living from selling those wonderful roses! Natalia, as her name, with her rose basket is a delicate appearance anywhere you meet her; by her walking, gestures and clothing she looks as coming out of stories!
Who are your favorite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?
I like many photographers, which I admire and which are a source of inspiration to me. I found many of them in this great and beautiful 1x community! When it comes to the horses photography I admire Milan Marovlh. I really like the conceptual photos of Victoria Ivanova, the portraits post-processing of Nictsi Khamira, and the photographs of Marcel Van Balken and many others!
Now, since we almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your future plans or photographic projects you would like to involve in.
My plans for the future are to guide and teach the series of students I'm working with, and to improve my photo collection for an exhibition, an essay about time, the time that defines us, the time that crushes us, the time in us!