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Vlad Dumitrescu: portraying the memories of our roots

by Editor Marius Cinteză
Published the 19th of February 2021

“Photography has changed my life. My photos are my stories that I want to tell as I like.” - Vlad Dumitrescu


a conversation in silence


Vlad is a Romanian photographer drawn into the idyllic life of the Romanian villages. His works are powerful and especially valuable because they tell the stories of the picturesque Romanian villages and their people. He doesn’t miss any opportunity to explore new places, meet new people and listen to their stories.
Since he discovered the photography in 2008 he shares with the viewers a bit of his own experiences from these trips. A consistent part of Vlad’s work are the portraits of the people currently inhabiting the Romanian villages, who are the only testimony left about the world from the past (very different than ours today) and the only obstacle in the way of modernism that will eventually take its toll.
His portraits exude overwhelming sensibility, compassion, charm and peaceful silence one can only find in the village world of the past!

I invite you to join me in discovering more about Vlad and his special interest for portraits of the wonderful people from the Romanian villages!


losif and the rooster


Vlad, thank you so much for accepting my invitation for this interview! To start, I would kindly ask you to tell us shortly when and how did you start your photographic journey?
First of all, Marius, thank you for this invitation! I think I can say that I don't remember when I first took a camera in my hands. I know that in high school I was the one who took photos at parties and trips with my colleagues, and in the college I always had a camera with me on my trips around my country. I took the photography more seriously in 2008. Then I bought a more professional camera from a cousin of mine. And I think that's when I started to like to show the world the beauties of our country!


Aurica, Brasov, mai 2019

For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?
What I can definitely say is that photography has changed my life. Thanks to it, in 2017 I left a job in a corporation and started doing something I really liked. I started to travel a lot more, I started to meet wonderful people from my country and other parts of the world, who in the meantime became very good friends. Photography helped me to express myself more easily…


batran cu gasca (old man with goose)


What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
I think the most important experiences were the ones in which I saw how fast my country is changing, how wonderful country-side customs disappear and villages change or die... This made me more perseverant in what I do, considering that my photography will somehow preserve the memory of these wonderful things.




Your photos are especially valuable and beautiful because they tell the stories of the idyllic and picturesque Romanian villages and their people. Many photographers try to stand out in this area, but very few even succeed. Why do you think your works are so admired? What is your secret?
Thank you for these words, Marius! And yes, there are many more photographers who succeed in this area. I think my only secrets are that I really love the Romanian village and that I try to get to know my subjects before I photograph them. I never take a portrait without knowing something about that person, without talking a bit before. Especially since the people from the Romanian villages have so many beautiful things to say.


Victoria si pisica (Victoria and the cat)


The world you are revealing through your photos is the one we are all connected to in different ways. Many of your viewers are grateful because you re-bind them through your photos with their own roots. Although some may look sad, there is a vivant and optimistic world they relieve. What attracts you to this photography genre?
First of all, I have to say that I feel very good when I go through Romanian villages and when I talk to the old people from there. This is something I really like! On the other hand, there is also something that I am aware of: this generation, with its unique way of life, is living its last moments. And with its disappearance, we will finish another stage of our history…


closca (the clocking-hen)


Having a trust relationship with your subjects is a must in portrait photography. How do you approach new people for your shooting?
I get this question very, very often. And the answer is that I don't have a specific method. It depends a lot on the situation. Sometimes I help the people I meet at work, if they need my help; sometimes I ask them to tell me about them, about their family, about their house or about their village. Sometimes I tell them what I do, what I look for and I ask them directly if I could photograph them. It depends on the person I meet.


the Scripture teacher


When you shoot in the beautiful rural areas of Romania do you plan in detail your photo trips or you prefer to explore and discover your subjects on the spot?
Sometimes I choose a new area that I only know is special, because it is located in a beautiful region. But I don't know anything about the villages there. The only thing I do before I get there is to find an accommodation nearby. And then, I start discovering. I discuss with my hosts about what I'm looking for there and I ask which directions to explore. And then, slowly, the area reveals its secrets. I do this as often as I can.


ce gatesti, bunico? (what's cooking grandma?)


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 gear do you use (camera, lenses, tripod)?
I think gear is important. I like to take pictures in low light and that's why I wanted to have a camera with a good ISO capability. Now I use a D4 from Nikon and for the lens most often I use a 24 - 70mm from Nikkor. I don't like changing lenses and I never use a flash or a tripod. I try to keep the act of shooting as simple as possible and I know for sure that both the flash and the tripod would spoil the atmosphere. All my 1x photos were taken in natural light only.


living a story


I’m sure that many of the beginners would like to follow your way and tell the visual stories of Romanian villages through their photos. What is your advice for them? What would be the required qualities of a successful photographer in this domain?
I think my first piece of advice for them would be to hurry - and I'm not kidding! Like many other places in the world, Romania is changing very fast and soon modernism will make the beauty of the authentic Romanian villages disappear. The second advice would be to do this only if they love the Romanian villages. Don't just look for photos; if you don't love what you do, no one will love your photos! And my last advice would be to respect the people they photograph. The photographers should always remember that the people from the Romanian villages give them from their time and that they do a big favor by opening their hearts.


barbat cu pisica (man with cat)


Can you please tell us something more about your workflow? How much effort do you put in the post-processing stage of your photography?
Most of my photos are post-processed. My photos are my stories that I want to tell as I like. I work on contrast and brightness and sometimes I clone out an object that can ruin the atmosphere in the picture.


my cozy place


Vlad, you joined the 1x community a long time ago, in 2008. Where did you first learn about 1x and why do you think 1x is different?
I found out about 1x from some photographer friends who were members of this community. I appreciate at 1x that you have a high level of quality of published photos! However, I regret that some old members that I was following left 1x.


about loneliness


Who are your favorite photographers whose works have influenced you and your photography?
My soul photographers are Iosif Berman, Ernest Bernea and Peter Korniss. They somehow determined me to start wandering the Romanian villages to see how they will open in front of me as well.


Eternal Sunshine


What is your favorite photo taken by yourself and why it is special to you?
No, I don't think I have a favorite photo. I look nostalgically at the photos I took of people who are no longer with us. I remember the moments we spent together and some words they said to me. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to meet them and that I was able to help a little to keep their memory.


Andrei, Brasov, decembrie 2018


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 be involved in.
I want to continue to discover my country, there are still many areas I want to reach. At the same time, I want to keep in touch with people I feel very close to.
I want to engage in projects that promote my country and that reveal to the world what a treasure Romania is!


Thank you so much, Vlad, for the interview! I wish you best of luck with your projects!


doamna cu ochi albastri (the blue eyed lady)



primul ingredient: magie









cand toate povestile se sfarsesc (when all the stories end)



In linistea camarutei mele (in the silence of my room)



from the book I know well



tamplarul (the carpenter)



prietena bunicii (the grandmother's friend)



Ana la fereastra



Andrei si Ana



the BFG



Ana. Winter activities



Portrait with hemp, Salaj, 2019



Pavel, Maramures, 2019






and this is how my life was



Maramuras, Romania, rural life and people, where time stands still... Ambient portraits of beautiful colors, light and shadows. All this is experienced by looking at your photos. I often look and search for photos from Romania, Romanian photographers. My dream is to one day come there and make that experience come true... Beautiful portfolio, photos, emotions. Thank You, Vlad !
Very interesting interview, fabulous photographs, congratulation.
Thank you, Miro!
Vlad, you portraits are magical in every way! You capture the spirit of all you photograph in such a genuine way. You are a master of natural light and know exactly where to place your subjects in the scene. I love the way you process the photos as well.
Valerie, thank you very much for your words!
Congratulations with your unique portfolio of rural life. These photos show Romanian country life so well. Keep on documenting, there is not very much time left before it will be the past :-))
This is my motivation too... All this will end soon... Thank you, Luc!
It makes me happy that I can, through my images, to show you all a little bit of the treasures that Romania has... Thank you all for your kind words!
"Vietile omenesti sunt flacari ce se desfasoara fiecare-n felul ei si cele mai multe se sting fara ca sa ramana vreo urma dupa ele." Ioan Slavici "Human lives are flames that unfold in their own way and most go out without a trace." Keep the flame alive Vlad. Great when you include the general area.
I deeply know Vlad portraits for a long time. They are for me the highest expression of photographic art because they combine a great technical ability with a noble, sensitive, delicate, respectful, proud soul. Vlad is simply a super-photographer and a wonderful person! Giuseppe
Parabéns, Vlad! A sua motivação tem muito mérito. Em Portugal, nós temos o exemplo de Jorge Bacelar.
Beautiful photos. Amazing portraits. Congratulations Vlad!
Photography made with soul and great sensibility, so rare these days! Vlad, thanks a lot for sharing these outstanding pieces of life! Keep up the great work and take care of you! Many thanks Marius for this excellent interview! All the best!
Many thanks, Codrin! Really appreciated!!
Great article and beautiful work! My best compliments to Vlad D.! Thanks for leading this fine interview, Marius
Thank you so much, Francesco!!
Amazing work! Congratulations Vlad!
Excellent photos, great interview! Well done, Vlad and Marius! :)
Many thanks, Andrei!! ;-)
Portretele sunt extraordinare!Emotionant