Our Featured artist Mirela Nita specializes in portraiture and still life photography. Her work evokes timeless classic photography. Her use of film gives her art the beautiful quality of grain that made me fall in love with photography in the first place. I'm particularly fond of her images of children and women in portraits. We are proud to share her work with our viewers! ~Sarah
1) How long have you been in business and how did you get your start in photography?
I guess I could say that I've “been in business” for about 4 and a half years.
In 2011, my husband and I decided to embark on our own adventure and move to Brussels. Since it was such a time of changes for us :) , we also decided I could finaly pursue an old passion of mine and commit to taking the 3 years-long courses of the Agnès Varda School of Photography and Visual Techniques. I had been tinkering with photography before coming to Brussels but nothing too serious. In contrast, this was quite a challenge but I found Brussels to be a highly inspiring city, with its many facets and wondefully vast number of nationalities and ethnicities.
2) Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
While I don't think I could pinpoint specific influences, I do find myself incredibly attracted by Richard Avedon's portraits, Elliott Erwitt's ironic “decisive moments”, Imogen Cunningham's nudes and flowers and quite a few others: Man Ray, Sally Mann, Harry Callahan.
I also feel there's something magic in the light and colors captured in Erwin Olaf's and Dan Winters' photography.
Wow, isn't this an eclectic collection of sources :)
3) What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
That it's OK to make mistakes. That an image doesn't have to be perfect (from a technical point of view) in order to be beautiful and convey emotion. Many times, simply tilting the lens into the light sufices...
4) What does photography mean to you?
A meaningful career I love to pursue. On a more personal note however, photography has always been an escape hatch (either from a desk work I loathed or from current reality) to a world of my own.
5) What is the best part about being a photographer?
IMHO, the fact that being a photographer becomes a challenge gradually, without you noticing it. And by the time you've realised the provocation it has become, you're already hooked :)
For example: at first, it's just you and your camera, seizing the passing moment. Soon enough, you become aware of personality and image rights and you realise you have to ask for permission for the photos you take. Or, every now and then, you encounter such a wonderful face that you know you just have to capture its beauty quickly, before it fades away. And for that, you obviously have to just go to a total stranger and say “Hey there - I would like to take a couple of photos of you!”. For a person lacking in people skills, as I used to be, this is quite a challenge. But, as usual, it is well worth it to push past your confort zone. Once you've done it, you feel fantastic, not to mention you discover there's so much more around you.
6) If you could shoot with any photographer in the world, who would it be and why?
Right now, I would go with Dan Winters. I trully am fascinated by the atmospehre, light and colors in his portraits.
7) What is your favorite image you have taken to date?
While it's difficult for me to choose, I would go with the first photo in one of the projects most dear to me, “Just Sisters” (see it at http://thepholio.org/albums/just-sisters/). I have invested a lot in this project (both in resources as well as in emotions) but I find that the first photo in the series, with 2 of the 4 sisters standing side by side, is quintessential to what I wanted to capture.
8) How do you feel about breaking the perceived rules of photography?
Better and better :) To the point where I don't feel like I am breaking anything but simply taking a different path to the same destination, that being to stir a viewer's emotions. Photography seems to me such a broad domain and there are so many ideas and sentiments to convey that there's enough room for most of the possible techniques to do so.
That being said, I believe that there's a time and a place, i.e. a context where it makes sense to break “the rules”. It obviously depends on the purpose of the project being worked on.