Mihai Florea is one of the photographers in this years Depth of Field exhibition.
We learned of his work in our call for submissions “Inspire. Joanne Teasdale was the juror.
“I choose this image for one of the merit awards. I am responding to the sense of solitude and the metaphor of the different periods of life as the eye goes from the front plane to the back of the scene. Wonderful composition and texture.” Joanne Teasdale
Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Mihai Florea and I was born some forty-seven years ago in Bucharest-Romania. Since 1998, I call Melbourne-Australia home. I am a construction engineer by weekday and an enthusiast photographer by weekends. I am married and I have two teenage kids.
How did you get started in photography?
I discovered photography in my early 20’s, when I bought my first film camera: an indestructible Russian made “Smena Symbol”. This is when I learned the basics of photography, including darkroom techniques. I wasn’t too happy with my results and my newly found passion started to fade away. Twenty years later, thanks to my daughter who became interested in the mysteries of the film camera, my passion for photography has re-ignited. Why photography? I don’t know. Maybe it is my way of re-connecting with my younger days. Maybe this is the best way I can express myself, how I reinforce my identity, and show that I exist and I can create something.
Which photographers and other artists’ work do you admire?
Among the artists I consider to be an influence and an inspiration in my work, I can mention Julia Anna Gospodarou, Joel Tjintjelaar, Hengki Koentjoro, Michael Kenna and Volker Birke. Something I aim to achieve in my work is perfect compositions and I believe they are some of the best around in the way they handle subject matter.
Would you share with us an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
It’s actually a series of images: “Like a Harp’s Strings” by Julia Anna Gospodarou, in which she uses Santiago Calatrava’s amazing architecture to tell a musical story. It’s so beautifully crafted that, if you listen closely, you can hear the wind playing through the harp’s strings. Just an amazing feeling!
You can see this series of images by visiting her site at Julia Anna Gosopodarou.
Do you have a story about one of your images that you would like to share.
“Tormented” it just happened by accident. I took the wrong turn while driving to Cape Schanck – Victoria, as it happens so often in life, and ended up in the middle of this out of the world place. I spent around two hours immersed in the atmosphere and shot for about half an hour. It’s one of those places where I don’t feel I can return without ruining that first impression.
Please tell us about your process and what the perfect day is for you.
I am lucky enough to live in a country with endless beaches and a very beautiful and minimalistic landscape. The light, the clouds, the trees, the ocean, everything in this country is screaming for attention and, thanks to photography, I am now able to share the beauty of it. And it feels really good. Sometimes, I drive for 4-5 hours, me and Benny Goodman or Duke Wellington, just to reach a remote beach and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. I just love to be in nature. Sometimes, I feel accepted. Sometimes, the ocean tells me, in pretty rough style, to back away and I respect that.
I am not a very technically orientated photographer. To me, more important than the gear, is to spend just as much time in the moment as capturing that moment I want re-produced in my image. The moment that stirs me inside and to which I react because of its beauty.
Is there one thing that you wish people would stop doing when it comes to the creative process or in the art world?
To quote Charlie Chaplin, “We think too much, we feel too little”, I would love to see people making sure that the subject of their work evokes an emotional response in them. Otherwise they won’t be able to create an image which will communicate anything to anyone.
What challenges do you face as an artist?
I haven’t been taken pictures long enough and I feel I have so much to learn and experiment. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I feel I am not “there” yet.
If you could spend a day with another photographer living or passed, who would it be?
Hengki Koentjoro. I would love to be a fly on his camera and just watch how he creates one of his masterpieces.
How do you view this time in the history of photography?
Very busy and clogged. Everyone is a photographer these days and it became quite painful to dig through all the rubbish to find the real gems.
How do you over come a creative block?
Funny you ask that, because I just had one recently. You feel like you can create, create and just create and suddenly nothing good is coming out of the camera. What I do, is just taking a break from going out and shoot, clear my mind, read other photographers’ blogs, learn new ways of re-touching old photos and wait for that signal which tells me: Yeap! You’re good to go now.
What do you hope the viewer takes from your images?
I want them to feel like they were there with me when I pressed the camera’s shutter button. I want them to be part of the image, to share the same emotions I’ve had.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
I see the beauty.
Where can we see your work, and would you like to share any upcoming projects?
My work can be seen on my website at, Mihai Florea.
Thank you Mihai for sharing your work and words with us.
To learn more about Mihai please visit his page at Mihai Florea.
To learn more about the about the following artist please visit their sites.