2 decembrie 2022

Interviu. The "Photogralysm" in the artistic vision of Andrei Baciu

 


https://100asa.com/blog/the-photogralysm-in-the-artistic-vision-of-andrei-baciu/

 

Andrei Baciu is a Romanian photographer, PhD in literature, the essence of his visual expression being represented by "Photogralysm",  considering that photography is, like poetry, full of lyricism. Impermanence of life, nostalgia are expressed through ethereal visual poems. Narrative series such as "The Life and Happenings around the Blejoi Bridge", "In a Train Station. A Twelve-step Meditation", "Horses. Lyrical Pieces" capture almost surreal, meditative moments and explore places crossed by flow and transformation.

 

Hello Andrei,

 

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to tell us about you and your work in this interview.

 

To begin, where are you from? Please tell us about yourself and your passions.

Thank you too for your interest in my work. I always feel grateful and humbled when somebody finds meaning in my photographs.

I was born and raised in Prahova county, in Magurele, a beautiful village in the Subcarpathian Hills. Now I live not that far away, in Moara Domneasca. This geographical situation has definitely had a role in my love for nature. Moreover, as it is a very diverse environment, both geographically and anthropically, it has stimulated my photographic curiosity across multiple approaches and genres of the medium.

Not in the least, exploring and contemplating the world with the camera in my hand represents the perfect way to recharge and find peace in the midst of the hectic daily life.

 

 

What inspired you to approach photography? How did this journey start?

 

It all started by accident. In 2004, when in college and receiving a stipend, I decided to buy a mobile phone. And, since nothing is accidental in life (sic!), I chose one that had a camera – an attachable, 0.3-megapixel one, more precisely. The ones with in-body camera were only at the beginning, and a lot more expensive.

So, little by little, I began to understand how many moods and emotions can fit in the photographic rectangle. They all fit, more exactly.

 

Please share with us what photographic equipment you use and what is the workflow.

I have a Canon 7D Mark II with lenses ranging from 10 mm to 300 mm. I always take more shots of the subject, trying to find the best approach. At home, I open the raw file in Canon Digital Photo Professional, then refine it in Photoshop. Finishing the image the best I can, from the technical point of view, offers a real satisfaction in itself.

 

Most of your photos are accompanied by a description. Please share with us some thoughts about your work and "Photogralysm". How do you find the inspiration for your visual stories?

Photography is for me an act of joy and, simultaneously, a spiritual and artistic endeavor. My camera is like a magnifying lens and, looking through, I am constantly overwhelmed by the beauty, coherence and meaning that life has. By capturing the seen, photography reveals the Unseen. The gift of sight becomes the gift of emotion. The eyes of our flesh connect to the eyes of our souls. Thus, my ”photogralysm” concept (”photography” and ”lyricism”) hints at this wondrous duality. Or, differently put, as Minor White once said, I try to photograph things not only for what they are, but for what else they are.

Since God put beauty in every atom of this world, it is the visual artist’s duty to open both pairs of his eyes and be ready to see it, feel it and pass it on. So, regarding inspiration, it’s not that I find it – it is inspiration that finds me. On the basic condition I renounce preconceptions and expectations and open as much as possible to what life has to show me. Maybe this also explains the eclecticism of my work.

As to the titles and sentences that accompany my photos, it is important to note that their role is not to translate the visual medium into the linguistic one (as it may be the case of photojournalism, for instance). In my case, on the one hand, they have the role to complement the image with ideas and moods that surround and permeate it, rather than being strictly limited to it. And, on the other hand, they delicately orient the viewer towards my intended frame of perception and interpretation of the image.

 

 

The 2013 e-book "Winterly Haiku" brings together black and white works in a minimalist approach, works perceived as echoes of cries lost in the stillness of winter. What is your relationship with nature? What do you want to convey through these works?

As a philologist, I became disappointed in words. More precisely, not in words proper, but in the way we use them. We utter them, but we don’t really act them out. And then we wonder why the world has turned into such a troubled space. “Love”, for instance, is one of the most misused and abused words in history. We use it to show our feelings for the close ones, but also to express appreciation for trifles on social networks.

Under these circumstances, sometimes silence represents a better starting point in dealing with existence, and that is the idea of my ”Winterly Haiku” project. Contemplating nature, when done authentically and not ideologically infested, can become a way to contemplate ourselves.

 

 

In the absence of words, visual poetry creates a much more dynamic and interpretive interaction between author and viewer. What do you think, is visual poetry easier to convey and feel in black and white?

 

Black and white photography brings by definition a clearer ”departure from reality” than color photography. Yet, it is a double edged sword, since, if not done properly, it can easily turn into a failure.

 

Your project "The Life and Happenings around Blejoi Bridge" from 2017 brings together fleeting moments around a bridge in Prahova county. The images, which can be found in an e-book published by LiterNet.ro, were exhibited during the "Bucharest Photo Week" event and published by the American magazine "LensWork", one of the most prestigious art photography publications worldwide. What can you tell us about this project? What attracted you to that place?

I have been crossing the Blejoi bridge all my life, since it links my home village to, basically, the rest of the world. It had been on my list of places to photograph for a long time, until one rainy day, when I finally decided to go do it. And it was that day that a new world opened up in front of my lens. Then, as I kept returning to the bridge, I began to realize the whole place functioned as a huge symbol. Indeed, the bridge seemed not only to link the two banks of a river, but two realms altogether: the transient and the eternal.

In this sense, if I may, let me quote from the introductory text of the project: ”Men and bicycles, birds, dogs and horses – not to mention the fish in the water –, children playing or going to school, adults heading for work past the deserted watchman’s cabin, fishermen, old people minding their own or someone else’s business, solitary or in groups, some in high spirits, some not, only rarely annoyed by the photographer lurking around – all of them become, suddenly, actors in a mysterious play they don’t even know they’re in, yet a play by no means less real, which the author of these lines can but strive to note using the camera hung by his neck.”

 

The photos from the series "In a Train Station. A Twelve-step Meditation" seem to be a meditative experience about places and life, about presence and absence, about passing. What can you tell us about this series? What do you feel when you look at these frames and what do you want to convey to the viewer?

I am glad you perceive the series in this way. I would add only one thing to your enumeration: ”about hope”. Unlike the project mentioned in the previous question, which took me three years to complete, the photographs of ”In a Train Station” were taken in only two days of a foggy November. This proves how malleable this wonderful language of photography is, since it can tell all sorts of stories, be they more or less complicated. There is meaning in everything, and photography can allow us to see it.

 

The newest visual expressions of photogralysm are portrayed in photographic series such as "Characters", "The souls are returning home" "Cuejdel, the Lake of Worlds Within", "Ballads beneath Ceahlau Mountain", "Wherever there is room - the light". What can you tell us about your new works? What is the philosophical essence of the series "The souls are returning home" ?

Whereas the projects we talked about above are in monochrome, all these newer series are in color. And by no means is this a coincidence. At a certain point in my life, I felt the need to set aside black and white – at least for a while – and approach existence in color. This wasn’t a conscious decision, but an organic expression of reaching a certain stage of my development as a human being.

Thus, I realized one of the gifts of photography is that of being a mirror. While one end of the lens of my camera points out to the exterior world, the other end necessarily points to me. I can better see and understand myself by simply analyzing the outcomes of my visual work.

As for ”The souls are returning home”, I initially felt attracted to the beauty of the birch trees on the hills close to my home. Then, noticing how numerous, stark and close to each other they were, what came to my mind was the image of the holy martyrs of the communist prisons. (In Romania alone, this criminal regime made millions of victims.)

 

Please share with us your favorite photographers you admire, why, and how did they influence your photographic journey?

The first names that come to mind are André Kertész, Dan Mititelu and Brooks Jensen, but there are so many more. Creating wonder, showing the expressive capacities of the medium, fixating its philosophical bases or simply being reservoirs of inspiration – this, and a lot more, is how great photographers allow us to join them in the great conversation of artistic creativity.

In fact, the works of all great artists (writers, musicians, painters etc.) are a great source of stimulation. Whenever I need a push, it suffices to dive into their masterpieces and, before long, I feel regenerated and eager to create.

 

How do you imagine the evolution of your artistic work and your figure as an artist in the future?

I am not generally concerned with the future of my artistic persona. All I try is to be as authentic as possible in my endeavours and to enjoy photography and life. All the rest, God willing, will come by itself.

10 mai 2022

Brooks Jensen despre proiectul „Tanti Elisaveta”

 


Brooks Jensen, creatorul prestigioasei publicații americane „LensWork”, semnează o nouă analiză a fotografiilor mele, după cea dedicată eseului „Viața și întâmplările...” Este vorba despre proiectul „Tanti Elisaveta”, publicat în antologia „Seeing in Sixes 2018”. Comentariul, destinat unei rubrici a site-ului „LensWork Online”, se poate asculta aici: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-ksROL3y9tFuLH1p7ZzsVkb9MOI2NFEu/view?usp=sharing.

O avanpremieră a antologiei, care include și imaginile subsemnatului, aici: https://www.lenswork.com/sixes/2018/preview2018.html.

În format extins, ca e-book gratuit, cu o prefață semnată de scriitoarea Irina Bazon, proiectul se află pe LiterNet: https://editura.liternet.ro/carte/359/Andrei-Baciu/Tanti-Elisaveta.html. Pe Facebook, aici: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156441956457366&type=3