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Jeno Major - a photography journey without a destination

By Editor Marius Cinteză
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 15th of July 2022

I met Jeno Major
for the first time years ago in a phototour in one of the most iconic areas in Romania for the landscape photographers. He persisted in his passion in photography and now he considers himself as a lonely landscape photographer who believes that nature is the best and most perfect architect of beauty. He has been an actor at the “Gong Theater for Children and Youth” in Sibiu for almost 30 years, but he is wandering Romanian villages for the last 7 years in searching for the most beautiful sights and most unspoilt places (still abundant in Romania). He was awarded with about 350 photography prizes so far, but he consider that this is only a confirmation that he’s on the right track and no more than that. Although he considers himself as a landscape photographer, his work from the recent years has turned into an ethnographic exhibition (and photography book launch): “Archaic”, where he gathered together fragments on the Romanian traditions, ancestral customs which have remained pure, untouched by the so-called "civilization".
I invite you to discover Jeno Major and follow him in his amazing journey into the photography world!


Jeno, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you – the man behind the camera, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!

I have been an actor at the “Gong Theater for Children and Youth” in Sibiu for almost 30 years. Apart from theater and photography I have no other passions; I can call theater a passion even if I earn my living out of it. I was an avid fisherman, but I gave up this passion for various reasons, one of which being that I did not want hurt and bring sufferance to animals. And photography somehow came as a substitute for this passion, but without looking for it specifically. I have never wondered what do I do now - it just came into my life. I don't know where this passion was hidden, but it erupted from inside like a volcano, and it still erupts now! I think it will never go out completely, I really like it!


When have you realized that you would like to start your journey in photography?

The journey started about 7 years ago, following what I told you above, and I hope it will be a journey without a destination!

'Back to the roots'

Jeno, was the passion for giving life to puppets for the joy of children on the theater stage influencing your photography in any way?

Yes, I think the theater influenced me in photography. So many years of theater, watching countless shows, performing in hundreds of shows, studying the scenography and directing many shows - I think all helped me find an aesthetic of beauty, and helped me create in my photography works a simple, clean composition that shaped my style.


For many of us the photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with the photography? How important is photography for you?

I can't say it's a way of life because it sounds like a cliché, but yes, I spend most of my time doing something related to photography. If I am not in nature photographing, then I am editing, or looking for materials about photography, watching the works of other photographers, etc. Everything revolves around photography, and of course around theater.

'Nana Armina'

What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?

I think the most important experience is meeting Sorin Onisor, the photographer of the Romanian village who marked my path and my evolution in photography. If in my early days in photography I only photographed landscapes, and very rarely people, he was the one who inoculated my love for ethno-photography, and little by little, I began to integrate people in my landscape works.


How do you maintain and grow your passion for landscape photography? What motivates and inspires you?

I don't have to maintain it or increase it, it exists by itself, it's like an inexhaustible spring that flows and flows continuously. Well, what could be more beautiful than waking up in the morning in the birds trills, watching the sun rise slowly over the horizon and its rays beginning to dance over the fog that unhides the ridges of the mountains, revealing a church tower or a stage of trees! For me there is no better show! And it's never the same! What higher motivation do you need?

'Back to the roots'

Jeno, you have self-educated into photography domain. How important is the self-effort to become a better photographer day by day?

Yes, I have been a self-taught if I may say so; and maybe I am a little bit of introvert and asocial. I like to travel and take pictures alone, because I can focus better on what I do and I don't depend on anyone. I'm not saying this is the recipe for becoming a better photographer every day, but it's important to be self-critical, to self-censor, and to try to do better every day.

'rural equation'

Landscape photography is a preferred genre among many photographers today. What do you think that makes your works different?

I don't know if it's different, but I know it's my soul in it and therefore it's unique!


A remarkable landscape composition can be obtained usually after hours of research and also after driving for hours early in the morning to catch the best light. What do you think are the other challenges in the landscape photography?

Apart from what you said, a big challenge would be the weather, which is not always on your side. You can wake up in the morning, you can drive for hours, the weather forecast should be good, but when you get to the crime scene you may have completely different conditions. And that means a wasted time. That means you have to go back to that place some other time, be persevering and consistent. You have to get out of the comfort zone, sometimes enduring the vicissitudes and whims of the weather. I can give an example: I was in Tuscany and I stayed 9 days to be rewarded with only a few minutes of sunshine and only 30 seconds in which the fog and light aligned as I wanted  to get the desired composition. Otherwise it was cloudy and rainy, despite the weather forecast.


What would be your most important advice to aspiring landscape photographers?

Exactly what I said above: to get out of the comfort zone, to wake up at night, to be persevering and consistent, and the results will come out!

'Fofeldea - Romania'

Can you please tell us about your workflow in the landscape photography? Do you plan on the locations, look forward for certain subjects or simply follow an exploratory process and improvisation on the spot?

I like surprises! In most cases I don't plan anything. I go with the wind and improvise on the spot. It happened to me to head to Fundatura Ponorului (Romania) and end up in Tuscany! The weather was not on my side, and I kept improvising until I arrived in Tuscany! I rarely plan anything, but even then there are changes, also because of the weather. In landscape photography it is not like in product, portrait or studio photography for example, where you plan your scene, mount the lights and start the photo shooting! In landscape photography you are the director, but not the stage designer!

'Fundatura Ponorului - Romania'

How do you manage to avoid clichés in your landscape photography?

I never tried to avoid anything. I just photographed the way I felt. I don't think there's anything that hasn't been photographed yet, so at some point you run into the so-called clichés, but at least you make them with your personal imprint. I never even thought about it, the main thing is to like what you do and to please the viewer with what he sees, either cliché or not.

'Paltinu - Romania'

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 use a Canon 5 D SR camera, a few Canon lenses (16-35mm f/4, then a 24-70mm f/2.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a Sigma 150-600mm. The most used are Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 and Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary.

'Rider at Havens Gates'

Jeno, you won about 350 prizes so far in local or international photography contests. What does this mean for you and how this influenced your artistic vision?

Winning prizes doesn't mean too much to me anymore. There was a time when they meant something, I wanted to see where I fit myself in as a photographer. I needed a confirmation that I was on the right track. Now, I don't value them anymore, I don't think it matters if you have 300-400 or 1000 prizes. There are so many contests and photography exhibitions today and these prizes can be won with the same photos, so it's not conclusive. Visibly, you gain a so-called fame, but I think it's more important to persevere, to prospect, to be innovative if possible, and to try not to limit yourself and always do something new. And if you really want to feed your ego then you can also participate in a contest from time to time.


What would be your favorite photo from the last years? Please share with us the story behind.

It is a photo I took very close to my hometown, in a village called Vurpar. In a beautiful spring morning I photographed the church of the village whose tower was revealed from the fog, and in the foreground I had some wooden sticks raising from the ground that were very photogenic and were a counterpoint to the church tower. It was a pretty nice landscape setting. But at one moment I heard the bells and the dogs barking: it was a flock of sheep that could be heard but could not be seen, all covered by fog. I prayed that the shepherd with his flock would step into my composition, which eventually happened. The sheep grazed and a flock of starlings nibbled on their backs. From a nice setting it turned into a great visual storytelling work, I would say.


Jeno, your first photography book “Archaic” has been launched recently and most important works were also exposed in the same event at Sibiu (Romania). Please tell us about the book content, the message and the meaning for you.

Yes, I had the opening of the Archaic exhibition a few days ago, during which the book launch took place. In both exhibition and the book I tried to gather fragments of the life in the Romanian villages; after spending several years of wandering through the villages where there are still traditions, ancestral customs which have remained pure, untouched by the so-called "civilization". I have tried to capture people working in the fields, or raising farm animals, as they have been doing for hundreds of years, which is why I have called the exhibition “Archaic”. I'm mainly a landscape photographer, but my work from the recent years has turned into an ethnographic exhibition. Here you can see the influence of my good friend Sorin Onisor on me.


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.

I have no plans, I let everything flow, things will happen when their times come!

'Way back home'


'Old lady in the window'


'Winter ride'
Bellissimo articolo, con magnifiche fotografie. Congratulazioni ai autori.
Fantastic pictures, I've been in Romania myself but haven't been able to photograph similar interesting pictures by a long shot
Fantastiska bilder her själv varit i Rumänien men hat inte på långa vägar lyckats fotografera liknande intressanta bilder.
Great works. Appreciate very much for sharing your thoughts. Thanks a lot.
Great shots, congratulations Jeno!!
Excelente trabajo, enhorabuena Jeno
Great works, congratulations.
Really great work! Congratulations Jeno for your work and for who you are! Congratulations Marius for choosing Jeno in magazine! 🤗
Multumesc Dane!🙂
Superb article! My compliments,Marius! Many congratulations,Jeno!
Many thanks, Julien! :-)
Unattainable? Almost! Wonderful, especially the author's feeling.
Bellissimo articolo, con immagini meravigliosi. Complimenti sinceri per Jeno, per il suo importante lavoro di fotografie.
I am thrilled!
Very impressive pictures, well done!
Impressive work.. Great article -
Thank you, Cicek!!
Excellent work . Congratulations.
Breathtakingly beautiful work. You are one of the largest photographic inspirations for me and the number one within landscape photography. You catch the light, the scenery, the people and put Romania on the map as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Hat off for you.
Thank you for your kind words Helena!🙂
Impressive work, so happy to read and see all this!! Congrats for the interview!
Thank you, Elena!! :-)
Wonderful photos! ravo and thanks for sharing!
Such an inspiring article. Thank you so much!. I enjoyed it thoroughly!
Many thanks, Marie!!
Mei Xu PRO
Poetic images. I love them so much. Thanks for sharing.
Wonderful and impressive imagen, Thanks.
Outstanding images, Jeno is one of the best out there, warm greetings and congrats!
Impressive and great points!
What impressive images and story, enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Piet!🙂
Really beautiful work Jeno, I can fully understand why you feel that you are in photographic Heaven with the unique landscapes and the very interesting people, congratulations! Also thank you to Marius.
Thank you so much, Wayne!!
Thank you Wayne!🙂
Very good article and breathtaking photography, thank you for this journey into a realm of timeless beauty, Marius and Jeno!
Many thanks, Ludmila, for your kind words!
Thank you Ludmila!🙂
Such soul touching images, I kept on looking at images and felt the essence of the scene… congratulations Jeno for the marvellous work and thank you editors for sharing such beautiful journey of the photographer
Thank you, Anita!!