Baroque painting has always been close to my soul. Especially since I started doing portraiture, I`ve looked for the lighting in those painted masterpieces, got crazy about chiaroscuro, the colours, the composition, the atmosphere. These images are my first attempt to take the esthetic of their paintings and transpose it into photography.Claudiu Guraliuc
Who are you and why?
I`m a 42 years old guy who quit his job in banking to be able to do what he loves all day every day.
You are known as one of the best wedding photographers from Romania. How did you start shooting weddings and why?
It`s a pretty standard story and I bet you heard it before. I started shooting weddings by accident…took some photos at a friend`s wedding with my old Nikon D5000 and a kit lens, made a small book for them (an awful one ordered off emag), they loved it, showed it to their friends…and voila! People started asking me, I uncomfortably started to accept…
What else do you like to shoot besides weddings?
Studio portraits. I love working in my studio. I think that I am a portrait photographer first and upmost. Wedding photography will always take the back seat in any situation.
What would you never accept to shoot?
There are quite a lot of things that I won’t shoot for a client, simply because I don’t think I can do it properly: Wildlife, architecture, food…just to name a few.
Money or art?
Money AND art. I do not think the two exclude each other.
If somebody would call you asking for a big conceptual artistic photoshoot and right after somebody else calls offering a paid photoshoot. Which one do you take first?
Depends. If I could only do one of them, it would matter how much I resonate with the artistic project proposal and/or how much money are involved in the paying job.
Besides being a great photographer, you are also a great retoucher. My question is: which one do you like more? For example, if I did not know you, how would you have presented yourself to me? Claudiu the photographer or Claudiu the retoucher?
Certainly I am a photographer first. I enjoy retouching and usually I shoot for how I intend to retouch. But I couldn’t do just editing all day long.
Tell us some of your international awards and recognitions.
I think that the greatest honor I have been awarded in my photographic career so far, would be the Fine Art Photographer of the Year 2020 award I received this year, at the Master Photography Awards Gala in the UK, with an image part of my painterly, baroque-inspired series.
In terms of the massively high standard work submitted, prestige, organization, atmosphere, I truly feel Master Photography Awards is one of the most relevant international photography competitions in the world.
I also hold the title of Master Photographer in the UK and the distinction of Associate of the MPA.
I am one assessment away from being Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain…
As for wedding photography, got some ISPWP and Federation of European Photographers awards along the way and I was Nominated in the Top 3 destination wedding photographers by the Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2019, in Dubai, UAE. The DWP Congress is recognized as the world’s strongest business platform set to honor excellence in the luxury wedding industry.
What else do you do besides photography?
Spending time with my family is very important. And I love to binge watch Sci-Fi TV shows.
How do you define a good photo? An artistic photo from your point of view?
I find that is very hard to produce valuable images if you don’t have anything to say. So there has to be a message. An artistic photo will ALWAYS make the viewer feel something, feel a certain way. For me photography is not about producing Xerox copies of the reality. It’s not about what you see with your eyes. It`s about what you see with your mind. About seeing that image in your head, falling in love with it and giving it life with the tools of the trade: the camera AND post processing software)
How did you come up with the idea of this set?
I have a bit of an obsession with baroque painters. Especially Rembrandt, Velaszquez, Rubens and Vermeer. This series is my attempt to take the esthetic of their paintings and translate it towards photography.
Name a few photographers you admire.
For me, Jerry Ghionis is a model and a hero. When I was starting out, his teachings shaped the photographer I am today.
When speaking of contemporary studio portraiture, I love the work of Chris Knight and Paulina Duczman.
Do you prefer shooting outdoors or in the studio?
Studio, all the way. I like the total control working in a studio environment gives me.
What advice would you give to a beginner that dreams to become you in 10-12 years from now?
Hard work, individual study, practice and a positive attitude will bring you success. Not expensive gear or fancy locations to shoot in.
A message to our readers:
Do what you love and you will never have to work for one day in your life. Do it now, not tomorrow, not the day after. I know it’s hard. But trust me, when you do something with love and put a small piece of yourself in everything you produce, there will always be a living to be made out of that.
Photo: Claudiu Guraliuc
FEMALE MODEL: Ecaterina Lungoci
MALE MODEL: Cristian Grosu