Vlad Albu is one of my favourite photographers from Romania. An incredibly gifted artist, with a very keen eye for things that go by unseen. Turning the non-subjects into powerful subjects. I asked him about not including lots of humans in his work, his influences and ways of working.
Tell me about Bucharest. How much does it influence your work?
My place of birth is a small mountain town in north-eastern Romania. I moved to Bucharest about two and a half years ago. Slowly, I realized that I have a strong attachment to Bucharest. My photos are somehow emotionally related to this place. It made me see things and places that are ‘non-subjects’ and try to make them into subjects.
You often choose to not include persons in your work. Why is that?
In this something and nothing that I use in my photos, it is strictly the idea of finding spaces and common things in everyday life. I feel that the lack of people is often important. This absence should make the viewer contemplate the idea of how trivial things affect us in our lives. I’m trying to make visible non-subjects: things,or spaces that are without visual symbolism at first sight. Through photography, quotidian matter is given a visual charge and imaginative possibility, beyond its everyday function.
What is your working process?
I walk a lot. I’m trying to take an image of what I want to obtain that day. This greatly facilitates my work. Lately I used between 3 and 6 rolls of film per week and rarely digital format. The remaining time is occupied with research about certain topics and artistic concepts that help me in my work.
Did you always want to be a photographer? What are you doing beside that?
In high school I wanted to do filmmaking. In time I was increasingly attracted to photography. Now I try to make them both better. Somehow cinema remained the most important thing to me. It’s hard to have other interests. I’m totally connected to these areas so much that for me it is almost impossible to do anything.
What are your influences in art?
Italian neorealism, french new wave and new german cinema. They are very important to me. These film movements formed me as an artist. Also I’ll put here a short list of photographers:
Adam Bartos, Edward Burtynsky, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Frank Gohlke, Henry Wessel, Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth, Axel Hütte, Thomas Ruff, Walter Nyedermayr, Takashi Homma, Matthias Hoch, Jason Evans, etc.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working at Gilded reality and Notes from public space series, and I hope that by this summer I’ll have finished a short film.
Interview by Amanda Akiyama