Making Photography with the Soul – Interview with Cristina Venedict

1. Hi Cristina! It’s a pleasure to have you for this interview. Could you please start by introducing yourself?
I am Cristina Venedict, a Romanian photographer based in Botoşani. Shortly, my work is focused more on fine art and environmental portraits, and I love to say that I make photography with my soul. I was drawn by photography since 2007, and it was like a revelation! It was such a wonderful feeling!

2. At what point during your journey into the world of photography, did you realise that you wanted to focus on Portraits?
Everything started after my baby was born in 2010, and I discovered portraiture and, implicitly, the camera, eager to learn more about its manual functions. I’ve always been fascinated by people, and I like looking at them, studying their characteristics, their reactions, getting to know their stories. I believe each human being is unique, beautiful and unpredictable! I like to play, I enjoy being a child. I’m quite immature sometimes, but this is who I am!

3. In a highly competitive market, being good at what we do just makes us one more among a vast crowd of other excellent photographers. We need to be original to stand out. Do you agree?
Yes, I think that a photo becomes remarkable when it passes the test of time. Let’s say that it becomes timeless and that moment is not lost in time.

4. This spontaneous and original character we can find in your photos has led you to win countless awards. Could you highlight a few of them?
The monk:
My favourite work in the recent years is a photo taken in a monastery. I was on a trip with the child during kindergarten. In the agitation of the moment, to see a perfect image in front of your eyes, and to do nothing to get it, only being there, fascinated me and still fascinates me. Seeing people being part of the whole universe they live in, that’s what I want to see. It is a strong feeling and difficult to explain.

Solitude: The model in the photo is a young actress, her name is Cezara Munteanu. The picture was taken in my studio in Botosani, Romania, in 2020, a year full of many emotions and inner uncertainties.

5. Frequently photographing outdoors, the background ends up playing a significant role in your photographs. When you arrive at a location where you will be holding a portrait session, observing your surroundings, what are the key elements you look for in a good background?
I like the portraits photographed by me to be pictorial. Harmony between colour, model, pose, and clothing.

Inspiration is very important. Also, the composition elements, the model, the music, and the final touch, that being the photo processing.

6. Could you describe your current camera setup and the reasons why you chose Fuji for the type of work you do?
I have the X-T3 and X-T4 cameras and will try the new GFX 50S II soon. I chose Fuji because I tested an X-T2, and it was love at first touch.

7. As a person who embraces those small imperfections that give character to a photograph, Lensbaby lenses are a perfect match for your work. How did this symbiosis start, and among these unique lenses, which is your favourite so far?
I was always amazed by dreamy images. When I started with photography, I wasn’t fully satisfied with the lenses on the market. I couldn’t create my desired images. Searching for new lenses, I stumbled upon Lensbaby. It was love at first sight!

I love Lensbaby lenses. They help and simplify my editing work a lot. I like to use Lensbaby, even though they are manual lenses. Because of the manual focus, you don’t have to press click very often, but you do have to find the perfect moment to shoot.

As for the focal length, 60 mm (Twist60) fits me best.

8. A considerable part of the mood we can find in your portraits is also due to your post-processing work. What software did you choose, and what are the most used tools?
I start by processing the raw file in Camera Raw and then in Photoshop. When I’m in Photoshop, post-processing depends on my mood.

9. This took us entirely by surprise, but several of the portraits we can find in your portfolio were shot with a mobile phone, with results sometimes indistinguishable from those taken with a dedicated camera. What model do you currently use, and how has it become an integral part of your working tools?
I use the Xiaomi 11T PRO. At first, I was challenged about how I could handle taking pictures with a mobile phone. But more recently, I photographed an entire session with just the phone, and I can say that it was a delight for me.

I like the format 3:4 and the wide lens, it makes it easier for you to get into the subject’s soul and find more creative angles. I like that I can take photos in Raw format and be able to edit them later, just as I do with a professional camera.

10. Do these photographs follow precisely the same workflow as Fuji’s, through the computer, or is any editing work also carried out on the mobile phone itself?
I use the same settings and functions as a professional device. I’m glad it has the Raw function because I use the same workflow as with Fuji.

"I am Cristina Venedict, a Romanian photographer based in Botoşani. Shortly, my work is focused more on fine art and environmental portraits, and I love to say that I make photography with my soul. I was drawn by photography since 2007, and it was like a revelation! It was such a wonderful feeling!"

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