“The White Shirt” Project, from Stefan Neagu

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Stefan Neagu

Born in 30th of December 1978, from Onesti, Romania. Education:
- University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Gr. T. Popa", Faculty of Dentistry 2003; - "Complete Course in Professional Photography", NYIP 2013; - Trainer certification 2016; - "Seeing Through Photographs" course by MoMA 2016”

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My parents have given me the first lessons of culture and they made my approach to it, by starting taking piano lessons since I was still a little boy. With a library full of painting and photo albums, and with my dad also passionate about the visual arts, access was very easy, the only effort being to stretch out my hand, grab an album and  start browsing.

With photo cameras was harder, the only device that I was allowed to use being a “Smena”, lomo version. Better than nothing. I think that from here started my visual education. Nothing forced, I’d even say natural.
The more intense study  of technical and compositional details occurred relatively recently, photography giving me a balance between who I am in everyday life, a dentist, a husband, a father, and “my moments” as I like to call them. The desire to learn “by the book” made me study at New York Institute of Photography, layering an information contained otherwise chaotic in my mind. The study, however, I think will never end…

My first “serious” camera was a Nikon D90, which I still have and I use it at my teaching photography classes for beginners. It was also the camera that helped me achieve my first photography prize at a Nikon Romania contest. Afterwards I’ve moved to full frame, with D600. But then something happened…

I’ve wanted a camera small enough to carry with me all the time, and in 2013 I’ve bought a Fujifilm X-E1 with the “kit” lens, 18-55mm. I was blown away by the build quality and the images I’ve made with it. At the end of the year, when I was trying to select “the best of 2013” pictures, I’ve noticed that most of my best work was made with the little Fuji, so, as for “the New Year resolution” I’ve made the move to the X system.

Now, the list of Fujifilm cameras and lenses is quite big, consisting in X-E1, X-T1 and X-T10 bodies and 14mm F2.8, 23mm F1.4, 27mm F2.8, 35mm F1.4, 56mm F1.2, 90mm F2, 18-55mm and 55-200mm Fujinon lenses.

One of the most meaningful moments regarding my relation with the Fujifilm X System was the inclusion of my work in the 5th anniversary Fujifilm X World Photo Gallery in Tokyo, which was a great honor.

Recently I’ve discovered the beauty of instant photography with Instax mini90 neo classic and wide300 and started a project with them. On film I use an 1957 Zorki camera which was my grandfather’s, and sometimes I take some pictures with it just for the feeling.

As subject matter, I photograph mostly portraiture and artistic nudes, but if something catches my eye, being it a landscape, a street situation or a graphic image, I take a picture.

I’m quite fond of black and white photography because, as I use to say at my classes, color in photography is a strong composition element and in many situations “resolves the case” effortlessly. In black and white photography you can’t “hide” your lack of knowledge: it’s about form, shape, contrast, light and shadow play. That’s it. And in portraiture, as the great photographers used to say, a color portrait is about a person, a black and white portrait is about the soul. Of course, if color is a good compositional element and enhances that picture, I use it accordingly.

“The White Shirt” project idea I believe started back in the ’90, when I was looking in PHOTO France magazines and discovered the works of my “soon to become” my favourite photographers, like Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Horst P. Horst and of course Peter Lindbergh, to name some of them. It’s an ode to them, as my first photography teachers. They could capture the inner beauty in their images. They could send emotions through their images. I had to try that.
The project is about a woman wearing a men’s white shirt. Is about beauty, intimacy, purity, melancholy, surrender. Most of the pictures were made with X-T1 camera and the 35mm F1.4, which is my favourite Fujinon lens. This project was awarded nominee at the 2nd edition of Fine Art Photography Awards contest, London 12 June 2016.

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  • Jan Sears

    Beautiful simplicity! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your work. Very inspiring.

    • Stefan Neagu

      Thank you, Jan!

  • Richard Simko

    These are awesome. Nor my genre but I enjoyed them all. Well done.

    • Stefan Neagu

      Thank you, Richard!

  • Brendan

    Oh my goodness, Stefan. This is a stunning body of work. The best protraiture series I have seen in a long time. You have the same ability to see light on your subjects as do your original “mentors” that you mentioned. This is on par with the work of Damien Lovegrove, another Fuji devotee. Thank you.

    • Stefan Neagu

      Thank you, Brendan!

  • FujiFiveO

    Your work is excellent!

    • Stefan Neagu

      Thank you!