Inside this issue
Gheorghe Popa is a pharmacist and a nature photographer by trade. He was born in 1982 in Aiud, a small town from Transylvania, Romania. Popa’s unique ability is his consistency to meticulously engage in his long-term projects with environments and landscapes often left unnoticed at first glance. His photographs create a monument to the unique beauty that lies within untouched nature. Popa’s aim is to bring responsibility and attention to his viewers and encourage them to cherish and protect these environments.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
It’s easy for the eye to be caught by the fruits of travel, but it’s especially rewarding to find a body of work that is the result of someone engaging at length with their local landscapes. While you can find both on Gheorghe Popa’s website, we especially wanted to interview him on account of his images of Romania’s Cuejdel and Geamăna lakes. These have brought him notice and recognition in a number of international competitions. By turn, these celebrate nature’s own reshaping of the land and highlight the damage that man can cause.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, your education and early interests, and what that led you to do?
My name is Gheorghe Popa and I was born in Aiud, a small town in Transylvania, at the foot of the Apuseni Mountains. I studied pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, the largest town in Transylvania.
My first encounter with photography was in middle school when I entered a photo club in Aiud; I think I was in the 5th or 6th grade. Here I learned everything there is to know about a photo camera, about developing a film, and about printing. I still recall being mesmerised by the camera obscura. In those days, photography was expensive in Romania, and films or even quality photo cameras were hard to find but, fortunately, the photo club had enough photo cameras to lay the foundations of photography. Things started changing in college when digital photo cameras started to pop up. I bought my first digital photo camera in college after working an entire summer; I practically invested all the money I earned that summer on a SLR-like 4mp Fuji camera.
I have been fond of photography and film since I was a child, so I don’t recall a specific time when I said to myself I wanted to become a photographer. Fortunately, I spent the majority of my childhood in nature where I was able to enjoy its wonders, so half-jokingly I can say I have always considered myself a photographer.