Living in a city, be it big or small, makes us all street photographers of different sorts. It is on the street that we can take a portrait, it is on the street that we can find an interesting situation, strange or beautiful, funny or poetic. – Virgil Mlesnita
Virgil Mlesnita is an independent photographer living in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. His unique style is one that I was immediately quite taken with. I love seeing the world through Virgil’s eyes because I find his images at times humorous, at times strange, at times depressing, at times light and lovely, but always, as Virgil puts it “poetic”.
Here are a few shots I enjoyed from an outstanding (I insist) project put together by Virgil called “On Happiness Street”:
You can see more from this collection by clicking here to visit the Romanian online magazine where it was featured.
I am also officially a fan of Virgil’s abstract work. I love the way he collected and assembled his shots. Here’s what he had to say about this particular “retro-spect”:
“As far as I am concerned, I could indeed consider some of my photos as abstract but only in the etymological sense, that of drawing or pulling away, since their creation is quite an effort. Therefore, my abs-tracts, come painfully, after rather long periods of work, and they tend to be very rare. This is of course normal since they are a mysterious combination of intuition and luck when I get to “see through”. This selection cannot be a project, since there is nothing that could be planned ahead on purpose. I am just able to recognize them and single them out from my archive. In this respect, this is not a pro-ject but a retro-spect.”
Take a look at these beauties:
Check out a larger collection of Virgil’s abstracts here.
For those of you who are like me and are interested in how Virgil captures these one-of-a-kind moments, consider what he had to say about his strategy:
“As far as I am concerned, I am not looking for anything in particular when I am out on the streets and I don’t think that leaving the house with one specific subject matter in mind is a good strategy. On the contrary, I am trying to pay attention to EVERYTHING, to keep my spirit open and to adopt a free jazz-like attitude where any element can add up and elevate the basic theme. As long as I am in a good mood, listening to the right tune, anything can lead me to a good photo.
And street photography is very important exactly in this respect: we are getting used to listening, we are constantly open, attentive, awaken. Also, on the street we have to act quickly, to react instantly, trusting our intuition, our guts. That’s why street photography is a constant training and development of this habit to stay open, to react and to act instantly.
Tea with the Madhatter
For a photographer these are capital skills since good photography or just street photography, in my opinion, cannot just be planned ahead, thought carefully and then happily shot like any other project.”
The Sensuous Qualities of Lines
I very much agree with Virgil. So often I feel like my best shots happen, not when I am thinking about composition and camera settings, but rather, when the shot simply feels right, when my instincts cause me to act, to shoot with an open spirit.
May Virgil’s poetic words and images inspire you all to adopt a “free jazz-like attitude” when you head out to the streets to capture moments that matter.