It's my pleasure to put the spotlights on Marius Cinteză today. Besides being an excellent photographer, he is a great contributor to the 1x Magazine as Editor. Read more about his warm hearted and interesting personality.
First of all, allow me, Yvette, to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about myself and my wonderful hobby: the photography! It is a little funny for me to be now in the interviewed shoes, but I think I will manage!
So, I’m a 42 years old photographer based in Bucharest, but I was born in Horezu a small town in Oltenia region (Romania) and one of the UNESCO cultural heritage site. I’m married and I have a boy and a girl; I take this opportunity to thank all my family for all they have “endured” since I took the photography more seriously and for their constant support so far! I have graduated electronics engineering in Bucharest and I also have a PhD in telecommunications domain. I’m currently working for a multinational company in IT services area. Since November 2016 I’m part of the editors team for 1x Magazine, which offered me the fantastic opportunity to give my contribution to 1x community by presenting the most known figures of the Romanian photographers landscape, and also to develop myself as a photographer! This would be me, behind the camera… Besides that, I’m interested in meeting people, in listening and telling their stories, in exploring the world nearby (it has a lot to show!), in walking and listening to the good music.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
I have started to photograph since I was a little boy; my parents bought a Smena Symbol (Russian) camera on film and I was supposed to do my best and use it to record the most important family moments. My first steps in photography were guided by the local photographer in the small town I was born, a German lady who has thought me how to use the camera. I have exchanged few other compact cameras since then until nowadays when I use DSLR and mirror-less cameras. I stepped from being curious about the technicalities and what’s inside the camera to what can I do best with the camera; I must say that I started to shoot consciously and considered photography as more than a hobby about 10 years ago. Since then, I have attended many photography trainings and workshops which opened me the way to better understand the photography, to develop and to express myself. Participating to photography workshops also offered me the huge opportunity to meet new and talented people and to witness unique, priceless moments happening in front of my camera!
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
I would say that participating to photography workshops, trainings, presentations, contests and holding photography exhibits are the most important experiences that influenced me and contributed to my development so far. Also, having the chance to meet and work with great local photographers have improved my work and I am very grateful to all of them for this! Another important experiences category for me was the discovery of the photo processing tools who offered me the full control on what I want to present to the public, mostly in the black-and-white fine-art area. All these together impacted my works and also made me to involve myself more and more with enthusiasm and the dedication to improve my photography!
What first attracted you to photography?
First, I thought that being all alone and witnessing the ephemeral moment happening in front of my camera and willing to pass it as a visual story it to everybody it is all I want to do as a photographer. Sharing these moments with others and receiving their feedback was the confirmation for me that I’m walking in the right direction. Later on, I have discovered that this it is actually not enough. Photography is more than that. Being able to interact with people and places in an unique way, impossible in other circumstances than the photographic context, confirmed me that this is what I must do as a photographer. Photography also gave me the creative achievement and offered me the possibility to me express myself as a visual artist. Through the photography I travelled more and I’m permanently exploring new places and looking forward to meet new and wonderful people as subjects of my photos. Photography helped me to see the inner beauty of the world and I feel really privileged for this!
Describe your overall photographic vision.
The photography evolved among my hobbies and I also evolved and developed myself through photography! I have started from revealing the simply beautiful landscapes, people and moments unchanged and unattached, to inoculating my photos with the mood context I was in, to telling the stories as I perceived them, without being stuck in the unaltered, objective reality. I’m of the opinion that what I want to reveal through my photos it is not the immediate and direct result of pressing-the-shutter gesture, but the consequence of all the inner experiences that have influenced my so far! I try to tell stories through my photos and these stories to be visually as simple and minimalist as possible in order for the message to be perceived instantly and with no doubt on the interpretation. But the stories are often not comprehensive without human presence. Although I’m usually reserved to people interactions in day-by-day life, in photography this changes: almost all of my photographic “stories” involve people; even my landscapes include people because I feel that human presence complete them in a unique way!
Why are you so drawn by Photography?
The photography offered me a way to express myself, but also to develop myself. I went through almost all the photography genres so far and each of them gave me satisfactions. The photography offered me the huge chances to meet new and extraordinary people (mostly in the places and under the circumstances I expected the least), to learn about beautiful places in my city, my country or abroad and to share my perspective on these with the others. For me, the photography it is more than a hobby: it is challenging, it is so rewarding, it is fun and always surprising!
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
There was a time when I thought that technical perfection it is a must for a photo to be published and considered by the viewers. I censored myself then and restricted from posting photos that were not technically perfect, but years after this I found out that it was a huge mistake and not the technical perfection makes a photo remarkable. Some of the photos that are not technically perfect can have a message and a story to tell. Now, I consider that the story or the mood must prevail to the technical perfection. This is why, when shooting, I try to let myself driven by the mood and emotion, because I think this is the only way to evolve and become relevant as a photographer.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
I usually avoid the contact with my human subjects; I first observe them and try to spot the decisive moment of their “spectacle” progressing in front of my camera. This happens almost all the time in the cities, where the people are usually not keen to discuss with strangers/photographers and where I don’t want to interfere and alter their story. When I’m in the villages, I often engage a discussion before with the people I want to photograph and ask for the permission to shoot. Unlike the cities inhabitants case, the people in the country side are more open to collaborate, they behave naturally, don’t pose, therefore the dialogue before shooting doesn’t modify the mood or the story.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I usually chose the locations around the house or where I can reach in walking distance or quickly, by car. I often like the streets either in cities or villages and everything is happening within these remarkable spaces. These chosen locations worth being revisited from time to time because they always offer something different. I try to get as much info as I can about the locations, either from internet or from other fellows photographers who know the location better. But apart from this I guide myself on inspiration. I have realized that the photos took based on inspiration, spontaneity and sometimes improvisation, convey more emotion than the other ones, planned in details!
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I have both DSLR and mirror-less kits and use them appropriately to take advantage of their particular qualities. For DSLR I’m faithful to Canon, but it is only a subjective choice I have made years ago and kept it unchanged. For the DSLR bodies I use Canon 6D and Canon 7D. For lenses I usually prefer prime fast ones (Canon 35mm f/2, Canon 50mm f/1.4) for portraits and zooms for all-around or landscape (Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS L and Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS L). I also use manual lens (e.g. Samyang 14mm f/2.8 and m42 mount ones). For street shooting I prefer mirror-less Olympus MFT, but it recently turned that I prefer it actually for all my photo tours because it is lighter and offers me everything I need from the quality and functionalities perspective. I use Olympus OMD M10-Mark II with Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 and Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens. For bags I prefer ThinkTank (Slingomatic, Digital Holster, Mover) and Lowepro (FastPack) products. I try to get rid of the gear that don’t bring a real added value to my photos and try to optimize as much as I can my photo bag (although not always succeed). I’m of the opinion that they are only tools, should remain tools, they don’t take great photos all by themselves and they are only meant to help us to show our photographic vision to the world! Often, the limitations in the photography are in ourselves, not in the tools we own!
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Photoshop and Nik Software Collection (mostly Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro and Viveza tools). I also use Snapseed when processing the photos on tablet/smartphone.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I have to say that usually I don’t process the photos close to the moment when they were taken. Being still under the shooting context I may be subjectively attracted for peaking up the wrong photos for processing and neglect the relevant ones. I think it is important to revisit the photos couple of days after they were taken when I’m more objective when selecting the best ones for further processing. I always shoot raw and for each photo session I chose only 2-3 of them for processing: the ones who transmit emotions, express moods or tell stories. All the other are however kept for later reviews, which is something I do regularly. In Camera Raw I do standard adjustments: I apply lens profiles and correct the distortions and also made some corrections if needed (WB, contrast, sharpness). For some of my pictures the processing ends here. For the others I continue in Photoshop and Nik Software (I mostly use Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex and Viveza tools). When processing the photos I don’t have some “always to follow” rules, it depends on the message/story the photo transmit and heavily on my inspiration at that moment. At the end the files are saved locally on HDD and also in cloud as a backup copy.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
I would have some more advices for those wanting to approach photography: to be creative, to be different in order to be relevant in what they are doing as photographers, to know their tools in details, to read and document themselves, to explore, observe and finally shoot only what it's worth it. Also, it is important always to have a camera with them and share only the best of their works! To be passionate to photography no matter the others reaction to their work, but do not disregard the public reactions! And finally: get inspired by the talented photographers and enter only in the important photography communities for showcasing the works!
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I have many Romanian photographers that I admire for their works, and I’m very thankful to them for the influence and guidance they have provided me so far. Among them, I will only mention Mirela Momanu for the creatively brilliant street photography, Sorin Onișor for the amazing Romanian village documentation or Vlad Eftenie for the stunning urban explorations. I also find inspiring and I admire a lot the works of Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry or Brassaï.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
My latest focus it is in the street photography domain because I see it as a perpetual challenge for me and the best space to observe, discover and capture the emotions and moments. I would say that Mirela Momanu’s works inspired me the most to deeper explore the street. All her street works are remarkable, but I would particularly mention this photo below:
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
In the future I want to participate more to photo contests and to issue a photo album with my portfolio. I also intend to improve my skills in fine art photography and combine this genre with the other ones I follow. Another goal would be to improve more and more my visual observer ‘skills which I believe it is an important prerequisite when approaching the photography.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
It is a difficult answer because I have many favourite photos, I have photos that I identify myself with and the stories behind makes them special to me. For example, the first photo published on 1x it is special to me; it finally came after many attempts and I remember I was so honoured and proud in the day I saw it published in 1x Gallery! Also, the photo below “Up in the air” it is special to me because it was shoot in my home town about 1 year ago, during the country fair I attend every year since I was a child. I consider myself lucky because I was there at the right time!
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I have to say that meeting 1x community was a very important milestone in my personal development as a photographer. Since then I gave up posting my work on other sites and focus on what is really relevant to me. 1x is that special place where one can meet talented and dedicated photographers and their works, elaborated tutorials, state of the art articles in the Magazine, exciting contests and not the least: a team of professional curators who do a perfect job in selecting the best works for 1x gallery. It is exciting, exclusive and inspiring! Since November 2016 I joined the team of Editors and this was a significant event for me, and an honour to be a contributor to 1x community with my articles! This new assignment gave me the wonderful opportunity to meet talented Romanian photographers (e.g. Andrei Baciu, Vlad Eftenie, Oliver Merce, Remus Ţiplea and Hajdu Tamas) and to showcase their unique stories and their stunning works in the Magazine!