Introduction to the 'Bucharest' galleries
by Mark Wilman
I love Bucharest, Old Bucharest in particular. The Bucharest that inspires curiosity and exploration, ideas and research, the need to stare at images of its fascinating past on internet. This was not exactly how I felt the first time: I was unprepared, unstudied, using memory of news reports from decades ago as a sense of guidance. Therefore, I was blind.
What charming people, how peaceful they are (even when demonstrating in public), able to fill a public park on a beautiful spring day without aggravating each other, respectful of the need for space, not shouting, no rudeness, need to look hard to find graffiti. Lots of nice expensive cars around town to convince the visitor it's a modern society and to relax.
With sheer enthusiasm were the galleries: Brown Door, Corner Wall, Cercul Militar View and Green Door created, all situated in Bucharest and all seeing the interaction of the female form inside the historical centre.
All that was needed was intense spring sunshine, best after rain, and my model in fine form. But because of Roxana's busy schedule, it wasn't an easy combination. However, we got started and in the process began discovering details inside the old centre that were simply mesmerising and apparently infinite.
The amazing thing about Old Bucharest is how old everyday things like park benches, lamp posts and railings often are, I mean 19th century stuff. It's simply untouched, unchanged, a trip back in time. They called it 'Bucharest the little Paris' during the Interbelic period, i.e. between WW I and II, which I can firmly believe.
Our approach was to focus on small, unique aspects of the city, for example an old doorway, and let the model discover its characteristics - as we'd done often enough in the Cyclades. This simple, repetitive concept offers the chance of finding that one single image, or more, whereby the combination of elements in view can actually reach unity, which fascinates me immensely.
With the spring progressing to early summer, I returned from a trip to Milan, where I'd avoided taking heavy camera gear preferring the speed of my mobile phone to capture images as I moved quickly around the city from one appointment to another (see the Milano gallery). The results were fun and encouraged the same approach in Bucharest just before leaving for Ios and Sikinos.
The project of photographing the city continues at this time with the 'Bucharest: Late Autumn & Winter' gallery.