Sunday, May 29, 2011

bare necessities

So we have our food and our water, and that is a good thing, because we don't go hungry. And we have faith, and that is even better. It means our souls are safe. A good shelter is also most important to our well-being. But nowadays, there's another thing taking over our lives, sometimes even surpassing more critical ones... the need to communicate.

Shy Orange Furry Feline

People of genius made it possible and we LOVE every bit (or byte?) of it. Every "happening" must be thoroughly advertised on Facebook, no deals are sealed unless previously discussed on-line, most meetings take place in front of a web-cam... you see what I'm getting at. It has become reflex to open the laptop, maybe even more so then opening the fridge... because you can go on for quite some time without food, but you are dying to see who else added you as a "friend", how many more "likes" your fan-page has received, what your relatives from overseas have been doing and what on Earth was Princess Beatrice thinking wearing that hat at the royal wedding. And let's face it, it's not bad at all (the information, not the hat).
Besides keeping us entertained, our on-line activities also boost our businesses, cultivate our tastes, make us smarter and more educated, or at the very least more informed. A moderated dose of web interaction has become, for more and more internauts, the any-time equivalent of the morning coffee. Well, maybe it won't alleviate your head pain - the web is caffeine free - but it will lift your spirit, the way a good talk with a close friend sometimes does... Because it is the easiest, fastest, most hassle free (and cheapest, right?) way of making new friends, most of which are people you've never personally met (and probably never will), but whose "electronic" paths momentarily connect with yours, converging on a mutually interesting... something: a nice picture, a good movie, an idea, or maybe a good food recipe. One thing got harder, though... just you try explaining to your grandma' how you made hundreds of friends by sitting in front of that screen in your room. Yeah, that never gets old...
So, there it is, the thing that we are slowly but surely beginning to NEED: THE INTERNET. Besides faith, food and water, of course.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dark magic

It used to be simple. Simple, but not easy. It used to be somewhat magical, too. I close my eyes, and once more I enter the dark room with a troubled heart and a mind full of the same old questions: "Did I nail the exposure? What if something has happened to my film? And ufff... the focus..." As the door shuts behind me, the familiar humid warmth welcomes me and tells me that I'm home again. Even the slightly stinging chemical smells feel like the sea breeze to a sailor returning to his beloved boat. I turn off all lights (but not the deep green one) and wait for a couple of minutes for my eyes to adjust. And when I start seeing the tips of my fingers as I wave them in front of my face, I think "...here we go..." and open the camera to remove the precious roll of film, one of only four that contain all the hard work that went into a full day of shooting. And I take extreme care when inserting the roll into the developing tank (we don't want nasty air bubbles in there, do we?), then I pour in the processing solutions, with an almost ritualistic precision and timing: developer first, waiting, then the stop bath and rinsing, then the fixer, more waiting, and finally the washing with a bit of non-ionic solution. It is now that my heart jumps the most... as I remove the film from the tank in full daylight and I hastily check each of the 36 frames. It's ok, I reassure myself: the developer did a good job, the pictures seem crisp and contrasting enough, but of course, I'll only have the final proof when I'll hold the photo - ON PAPER - in my hand. And yes, this is going to be the fun part. I leave the red light on this time, I prepare the processing baths, then I begin the painstakingly slow process of adjusting the exposure intensity, color filters and so on... When I emerge from the dark room after a few hours (how time flies!), I feel a bit tired and hungry, but satisfied as I glance once more at the string of photos drying on the rope....
Yep, it used to be just like that. Now, of course... things have changed. I look at the tiny SD card that contains my (roughly) 2000 pictures for the day, I transfer them to HDD with a few clicks, I fire up Photoshop and load one of them up, and with a few more clicks I get a better result then I could ever have hoped to get the "old school" way. And if I want a printed copy, that will take yet another couple of buttons pushed. And I think this is a good thing, because it's safer, easier and more accessible then ever before. It is all those things and more, only... it's not magical anymore.

Claudia Veja Images

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Old city new

Why is it that every photo shooting day feels like the first day of my photographic life? Is it just me or does everyone else feel like this? A feeling of new and undiscovered, like there's a whole new world out there, waiting to be unveiled through light and color. I start prepping the gear, going through the motions with the kind of automatism that comes with years of repetition, and then the not-yet-taken pictures start hovering somewhere in a corner of my mind.  Then I stop for a moment and look out the window, and I see the same city, yet I know that today it will be different. I know that because it's been different every time. Somehow, every photo-session brings something new and manages to surprise me. The city is as moody as the girl next door, and it shows. Some say that it breathes, that it has a life of it's own, like some giant living organism that coexists quietly along us... and through us. People and cars and clothes and shoes and smiles and trees and asphalt and old buildings and a lonesome puddle catching a glimpse of light... they're never the same. And I know that when I will lift my camera to compose the next shot, all of that will fall into place like a huge puzzle that never assembles the same way twice. I know that every shot I'll take will be a singularity, a never-before-and-never-after event. And that makes it special, and worth taking.

Claudia Veja Images

Sunday, May 22, 2011

MOUCHATON The Mastermind/ Eminenta cenusie


    At just a few months old, little Mouchaton is becoming a handfull... of joy :) He likes exploring EVERYTHING, he has to see EVERYTHING, and he MUST be included in every activity we undertake. He wakes me up in the morning by rubbing his furry ears against my face and purring... you could die from the cuteness. Too bad I'm too sleepy to snap some pictures :) He likes watching TV, although he's not so easily amused anymore and a harsh critic (he might fall asleep in the middle of the action). He likes his high places, he's always on top of the furniture, and he LOVES the family dwarf hamster. Sometimes I fear he would LOVE it with a side dish of tuna. The hamster, though, in spite of being the size of a ping-pong ball, valiantly ignores the cat's efforts and keeps spinning his hamster-wheel.
    Oh, and another thing about the cat. He is very much a part of the team. Just this morning I was preparing the gear and he was like really helping. You know, messing up the cables, getting into my camera backpack and refusing to come out, scrambling the charged batteries with the not-yet-charged ones, sharpening his claws on the diffusers, and all those other helpful things that cats do. And I was enjoying every minute of it. So yeah, that's his job: entertaining. Somehow, he always manages to make me forget about troubles and brings the sun out.


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Here is when he was still so very easily amused:

Stephie (U know, our teenage daughter) just came from a fashion show and undone her hairdo and it looked huge (here I don't think is quite obvious how big it actually looked/was) and we felt that a few pictures with our new little cat were a good idea. Muchaton fell asleep very shortly after we stared and did not mind at all the lights or anything else for that matter. He trusted Stephie  completely already.


Here I found him staring at me from out laundry basket :)
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