Long before I owned a camera, my interest in art was based on traditional inks and paints, and it was my fascination with tools like Photoshop that paved my way into photography. Creating something from a blank canvas and the creativity and vision required to do so has always been an eye catcher for me – and Caras Ionut is no exception.
I only recently found Ionut’s work through Facebook but it has quickly become a favourite. Not only is he creating interesting and artistic images that consistently hold my attention, but he’s doing it every day.
Using images that many of us would consider “snaps” or rejects, Ionut is creating – what I think – are incredibly creative and perfectly executed compositions that are so interesting, an entire story could be built around these images.
I wanted to introduce myself to Ionut and ask him to talk a bit about his approach for some insight into the artwork he is creating. Here is what he had to say:
I have been manipulating images for over 10 years and have reached the point where I now find interesting elements in everything I see around me. But being completely honest, before starting with my own pictures, I was practicing with other stock pictures, some of which I found using Google search. It was a good starting point but I have since realized the use of other photographers’ pictures is wrong and have since been building my own library of images. I now see the world around my house very differently.
I always leave the house with a camera looking for any potential element that I could use later in my work. I never know what I will need days, weeks or months later so I collect everything I can. My artwork is inspired by what I find. Over time, I have collected many instruments, buildings, trees, landscapes, people and toys, all with a variety of weather and cloud patterns. For me, this makes it easier to think of how I could combine photographs from my library and experiment with results.
Pre-visualization is always nice. When I have a strong character or subject, I often have a vision on how I would like to use the image. I can create a scene in my head long before I’m back home in front of the computer. Other times, I have an idea and I’m out in search of a particular element to help bring my vision to life.
My vision of new work never ends. I find it easy to discover beauty and interesting things in almost everything around me. I believe many people struggle with this and have not yet learned how to see in this same way. Starting something from nothing can be difficult when the final image is not clearly sitting in front of you.
It’s like a puzzle for me with random images. Sometimes I fail while other times I succeed. I believe this is a very important step to gain experience and I practice by creating a new image every day. Of course, this is becoming harder because I am running out of new things to photograph around my house. Travel is a great time to take advantage of finding new elements that I can combine with those around home.
Along side my stock collection of images, all of my ideas and visions, it is still very important to have a good technical understanding of tools like Photoshop. Knowing how I can work and manipulate an image helps decide how and what story I want to create.
But we don’t need to be an expert with every tool in Photoshop because usually I don’t use very complex techniques. Most of it is a good understanding of masks and the blending of colours and shadows. Image manipulation requires a vision, time, patience, love and devotion. Without that, I would have stopped before I even started. We should not take it too serious, especially when we are on the first steps.
When I need to try something new, I find it beneficial to take my time and relax while searching for crazy work on the Internet. I am looking for inspiration. Something that will push my skills to another level. I don’t always find it but it’s all part of my journey.
Every day I struggle with new ideas trying to be more unique than the previous day. Pushing myself is the master key.
It won’t take long before you notice the reoccurring subject of a little girl or an elephant. Two very different subjects so I had to confirm and ask what was Ionut’s relationship with the two.
The girl is my daughter and the boy is a relative’s son. As for the elephant, sometimes the circus comes to my city and I have created a good collection of elephant poses from those visits. Several images of elephants were also created during a workshop in Indonesia.
If you would like to see more:
How is it done?
Sometimes we need to see the originals to have a slightly better understanding of how these images are created and what the foundation is built on. Here are a few examples from Ionut’s Facebook page.
Watch it all come together.
And now that I have your attention with a few examples of the before images, here is a screencast video of Ionut at work from start to finish.