Pirene’s Fountain interviews
With Nik Sharma
Welcome Adrian, we're happy to have you here with us to talk about your art photography. You have a very diverse background: mathematics, music, art... so, can you tell us how you first got interested in photography?
It all started because of a close friend of mine. He picked up photography as a hobby a couple of years before I did. I would see him carry his camera everywhere, but didn't make anything of it. One day, we sat down and he showed me some of his work, and I was very impressed. He was using a technique called high dynamic range imaging (HDR), and I became truly fascinated with the way everything looked in his photos. The colours were surreal, but beautiful. The landscapes were otherworldly. It was something that I wanted to create. I bought my first digital camera and started shooting.
Can you tell us how you came up with some really unique effects in your photography?
I learned the majority of elements you'll see in my photos from the same friend who inspired me to do photography in the first place. These were mostly technical aspects of how to control the camera settings, but also some advice on composition. He is also the one who taught me how to make HDRs – these are photos which you can recognize by the unrealisticly vivid colours. Other techniques I learned by accident, like shaking the camera while trying to capture a field of yellow flowers, or playing with different perspectives on the same subject.
It’s interesting your first publication is in a poetry magazine. Do you feel there are any parallels between poetry and photography?
Photography and poetry are closely related. When I look at a photograph, and especially at a landscape, I am reminded of Romanian poetry. Back in 6th or 7th grade, when I was still living in Romania, I remember learning a series of poems which we called pastels. The term referred to lyrical pieces in which the poet paints a picture of nature. To me, photographs often invoke the same feelings that these pastels used to. It is a feeling of calm and peace, the kind of feeling you get by mentally removing yourself from the environment and simply observing it, in soft focus. You can see what I mean by looking at the works of Vasile Alecsandri or Mihai Eminescu (I know that there are English translations available for Eminescu's works). To me, photography and poetry are different mediums of expressing the same idea.
What are your favorite subjects in nature to photograph and why?
My photographs range from landscapes, which capture a wide view of natural scenes, to macro shots, which offer a detailed close-up of an object, so I enjoy shooting a variety of things. If I were to choose a favourite, I'd say I prefer shooting a sunrises and sunsets. There's something mysterious, yet calming about an early morning, with fog hovering just above the grass here and there, thick enough to make itself noticeable, but not so thick that it obscures the view of the sun making its way up from the horizon.
When you're composing a shot, are there any visual patterns that you look for? Does your background in mathematics influence your perception?
I can't really say that I make a conscious effort when I compose a shot. It really is more of an inner feeling than anything else. Most of time, I just walk through a park, and I "feel" like whatever I'm looking at would make a good photo. I just look through the viewfinder and try different angles until what I see something interesting. I take a few different shots, and at the end, I choose the one that just feels right. It has to do with the overall atmosphere of the photo – it's not something that I can describe in words.
Some of your compositions have interesting colors or tints. How do you get these?
I use Photoshop for photo editing. I personally like colours that are vibrant, or that are different from what I see with the naked eye. For me, the colours that I choose bring out more of the subject, so I leave very few shots untouched. I also use Photomatix, which allows me to create something called a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. It's basically a software that takes several shots of the same subject, and merges them into one shot that captures both the shadows and highlights of a shot. It also has several options that allow me to tweak the tints, making for a more interesting photo.
Thanks for sharing your work with Pirene’s Fountain. Hopefully readers will enjoy seeing your photographs within the pages of this issue. Going forward, what plans do you have with your photography?
I'm going to continue pursuing photography as a hobby. I enjoy always going to new places and capturing new things, then sharing them with my friends.
By looking at his photographs, one would think that Adrian is what many would call "artsy," but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, he is a very left-brained individual. From an early age, he had an interest in the sciences, and is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in mathematics.
Adrian was born in Romania, and came to the United States at the age of 15, where he began his first year of high school. It was in high school where he first became interested in art, particularly in music. Having heard Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” for the first time at the age of 16, he became an avid fan of classical music. His passion for music grew over the next several years, and at the age of 20, while in college, he gained access to a piano on his university's campus for the first time, and started teaching himself how to play.
Adrian's journey of learning did not stop there. About a year ago, during the summer of 2010, Adrian began exploring the visual arts. After seeing the work of a fellow friend, he became interested in photography, and from there he began exploring drawing, and most recently, painting. Currently, Adrian plans to earn his PhD in mathematics, and continues to explore the arts in his free time.
Nik is a grad student in the Chicago area who studies and teaches mathematics. He is a classical pianist and enjoys writing in his spare time. He especially enjoys Japanese culture and is a big fan of anime and other cultural media.