Starting today, May 15th, Romania sets to ease its lockdown, thus ended a long state of emergency from March 16th. I would like to bring to your attention today a passionate lady photographer from Romania, who is facing the daily challenges of the coronavirus pandemic working in an emergency hospital at the Black Sea shore.
is a Romanian photographer located in ConstanÈ›a (Black Sea shore) who started her photographic journey in 2013 by approaching the travel and street genres, guided by the joy of exploring new places and by the fascination for the photography. Later, in 2016, she discovered the inspiring and intriguing mood photography on 1x.com and since then she set a goal to induce an emotional response from the viewers similar to the one she experienced in the moment when taking the picture.
”Try everything, but tell a story!” – Elena RÄƒcealÄƒ
I invite you to read Elena’s story in the interview below and discover more about the endeavor to convey through her pictures the happiness and balance one can only find in art!
Elena, first I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions! To begin, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!
It is a great honor for me and I want to thank you for the opportunity to take part in this interview! My name is Elena, I live in Constanta (Romania) and I consider myself as a world citizen. I am a nurse by profession and I work at Constanta Emergency Hospital. Photography and traveling are my great passions. I enjoy travel photography and all that comes with it, but I feel very comfortable when approaching black and white compositions. I was initially self-taught, but later I attended several workshops and photography art courses. Recently, I have had my first personal exhibition at the Art Museum in Constanta - an exhibition entitled "Fraction of light". In addition to this, I became a curator for a photography website and I consider this project as a beautiful challenge.
When have you realized that you would like to start your photographic journey?
I cannot tell exactly how and when it happened, but in one of my trips to Italy in 2013, on a rainy morning I took my first photo to which I am dearly attached. At that time, I had a compact camera from Nikon. From that moment on, a part of me lives and breathes through photography!
For many of us the photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with the photography?
For me, the photography is definitely a way of life. I like to travel and photograph the places I go to, and then post-process photos in my spare time. I study, watch and read something new about photography every single day. Last but not least, I regularly go out to photograph with my friends (most of them photographers, too).
What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
First of all, I consider this is my path and I am grateful for discovering it! Looking back, I notice many experiences, but I think the most important one was when I joined the “S16 Vision” photography group from my city. This is how I discovered a new dimension of photography, the desire to deepen the photography as an art. Here, I have met wonderful people! We share knowledge together and involve in joint projects.
How do you maintain and grow your passion for photography?
Luckily, my passion is so great that I breathe and feed myself with photography every day! I consider the daily study very important. I have a strong desire to learn something new every day. I also submit my photos periodically to several websites and participate from time to time in various competitions.
Can you please describe in a few words your photographer philosophy and mission?
I want to convey through my pictures the joy and balance we can find in art, discovering the perspective of a moment, of a story without any words. Every moment is unique and you can catch it. My dream is to be part of a photographic community in which we can share with each other our photographic experience, to combine creativity and passion for photography with study, to encourage those like me, the one I used to be, to discover their "gift", their purpose.
The travel photography that you enjoy is also the preferred genre among many photographers. What makes you so drawn to this type of photography?
The joy of discovering new places and the fascination for photography guides me in my travel photography. In those moments, it is just me and the magic of the place. I do not search for empty places, I like the human presence. What I like most are light fragments and the way they play with shadows, moments cut from the ordinary, from the everyday, all these are close to my soul!
What do you think are the main challenges of travel photography?
The challenges come from approaching the unknown. You have to continuously adapt because you cannot schedule the weather or the flow of people around you. To abandon yourself into the moment, to have no expectations but to be prepared for anything. The perfect moment can appear anytime, no matter if there is rain, snow, shadow or light. For example, around lunch when the shadows are very harsh, if you are in an urban area you can approach street photography and in a rainy day you can try to catch a mood moment.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in travel photography?
When I go on a trip I do not make plans, everything happens on the spot, so I think it is important to stay focused on the senses, to capture the moment. It happened to me sometimes to miss the moment because I spent too much time thinking. I take pictures outdoors, in public transport or inside the buildings I visit. All these places are challenges, experiences. Usually, I do not go alone on trips and I have to adapt to the group (my family in most of the cases), which is in a continuous movement. That's why I take a lot of pictures and I think the most important step afterword is the selection of the photos. The daily pursuit of photography develops the visual intuition that helps you anticipate the moment and feel the composition!
Elena, what is more important to you: the story behind your images or the technical perfection?
A few years ago I would have said that the most important part is the technique, but now I am able to say that the most important thing is the story, to expose the story to others, your own vision of a chosen moment, a subjective choice that defines you. I think both have their contribution.
Elena, you enjoyed lately the mood photography. What do you think are the secret ingredients for remarkable photography in this domain?
I discovered the mood photography in 2016 on 1x. This is the photography genre that leaves me speechless often, which inspires and intrigues me at the same time and that I feel it with all the cells in my body. This is something I want to convey on and I hope that my desire will turn into reality! I think the main ingredient is to be able to expose the emotion you felt when you conceived it, to the person viewing the picture. My motto is always to “Try everything, but tell a story!”
Can you please tell us something more about your workflow for mood photography?
My workflow in editing mood photos starts with the selection and then everything is about inspiration. I observe the image, I crop it if necessary and delete the elements that disturb the composition. I primarily edit in Photoshop, Camera Raw and then I use the Nik Collection and / or Alien Skin filter, as per my intuition. Usually I have several alternatives of the same compositions and then I choose one of them.
Where do you look for to find inspiration for the visual stories you want to convey by your photo works?
The inspiration comes on the spot when I download the photos and I look at them. In that moment I know what the next story I want to share will be. Everything is feeling! My daily life inspires me, the desire for change, the joy or the difficult times, sometimes my compositions resemble the human condition in which the light and the darkness live together.
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 you use (camera, lenses, etc.)?
I have been using Nikon D7200 for two years, it is a large camera, but it does very well no matter the weather. I capture many of my photos while raining or snowing. As for the lenses, I use 17-55mm, 18-105mm, 70-200mm and sometimes 50mm prime lens. I recently purchased a 10-20mm wide lens that helped me to photograph in New York. I also have with me several circular polarization filters for hard light and I always carry a backpack with a protective cover, a rain cover for the camera and an umbrella.
Elena, you work in an emergency hospital in Romania, in these days when everyone goes through the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. How do you manage to share your passion for photography with the medical responsibilities, which are becoming more demanding for you during this period?
We all go through this difficult period, difficult to tackle and especially difficult to manage. Initially I panicked, I was afraid for myself, for my family, my colleagues at the hospital. Then I managed to get out of this mood, accept the changes and include them in my daily routine. Every day at work is full of unknown, a permanent prayer to be able to return home healthy. I miss the photo tours; I had planned some of them during this period with my photographer friends. I hope we can resume our activity, healthy, in the shortest time possible and come up with new ideas, after this unpredictable experience. For now, I take pictures with my phone on my way home from work and I intend to try some more abstract approaches in my house. I think it is a period of self-discovery; it forces us to spend more time with ourselves and reflect. It is like a breath that can give birth to new beginnings, to new visions. Photography can alleviate the anxiety created by the current situation and my advantage these days is that I can work on editing the photos from the last trips and I am really glad that I have a lot of work to do! Photography helps me feel the joy and find my balance, fragile these days. Editing photos boost the creativity and my thoughts are flying to those places I have been in!
What would be your favorite photo from the last years? Please share with us the story behind it.
My favorite photo was captured in my favorite place, Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, among the columns of the San Francesco di Paola church, on a rainy day in November 2013 and coincidentally (or actually not!) it is the image that showed me my purpose. I think that was the moment I chose the photography... or the photography chose me? This photo still excites me, after so many years and I realized what you could do the photography with: your heart, your eyes and what you have at hand!
Who are your favorite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?
I would mention first Fan Ho, which I discovered not so long time ago but which I feel so close to. Then: Henry Cartier Bresson, Elliot Erwitt, Vivian Maier, the controversial Robert Mapplethorpe whose work I was fortunate to see at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These are just a few of the photographers I have now in my mind. There are also some 1x photographers whose works I follow with great admiration!
Now, since we almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or photographic projects you would like to involve in the future.
Besides what I do currently, the travel photography will be omnipresent with all the challenges that await me in the future. Otherwise, I am open to any project related to photography!
Arnon Orbach CREW
Dear Raceala, your work is very personal and emotive. your images remind me of beautiful poetry. Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts and feelings about your photography. Congratulations. Kindest regards Arnon
Thank you so much, Arnon !! :)
it is always a great pleasure to read something of the motivation, the thoughts and emotions of a photographer. Much interesting interview with a great selection of your work dear Elena. Many thanks to you, to Marius and Yvette. Warm regards Wolfgang
Thank you, Hans-Wlofgang, for your appreciation!!
Gabriela Pantu PRO
O galerie minunata si un interviu excelent, felicitari!!!
It's good. Thank!
Leah Guo PRO
Artist way of telling stories from images. Great interview and photos!
Peter Davidson CREW
Interesting to read what motivates and inspires, good interview!
Just great. Wonderful photos
Thank you very much, Hajime Art !! :)
Great interview and superb works, dear Elena. And thank you, Marius, for this very interesting article. Best regards. Have a happy weekend. Ciao, dear Yvette. :)
Thank you very much, Francesco !! :)
My pleasure, dear Elena! My compliments! :))
Thank you, Francesco! Greetings!!
You are welcome, Marius! Warm greetings! Have a happy new week. :)
Great interview Elena. Love your work!
Thank you very much, Patrick !! :)
Yvette Depaepe CREW
I'm so glad to post your interview today that the lockdown in Romania is easing. All my respect for your work on the frontline !!! Congratulations on your excellent photography too... and thanks for sharing with us. Thanks to Marius too for his fine collaboration with you to present this article. Warm greetings ... Yvette