portrait Ioana Birdu

A series of recollections about the things behind the photo. The fragments and questions that come with it. All at once or one after the other. The story seeds that follow before or after the photograph is made.

This photograph is my favourite from a session I did for the Romanian magazine DOR (Just A Magazine). If I'm not mistaken it was my first commissioned work and my task was to illustrate an essay about breakups. With the experience came, of course, a few lessons and I'll write a bit about one of them. 

Say yes to new projects even if it scares you.

When I was contacted for this job, I had zero experience in working with magazines, on a brief and so on, and my confidence level needle was pointing down. All I had was my love for photography.

Years later, that fear never left, I still feel it whenever I start something new. I don't think we ever escape the fear of failing, because most of the times that's what it is. Self doubt will always be there, but even if we don't succeed we gain so much more than not doing it in the first place. 

One thing that helps me decide when to say yes is paying attention to how the fear manifests. You'll see that sometimes, despite your lack of self confidence, there's a feeling of excitement and anticipation around that fear. That's what I call the good type of fear, the one that tells me loud and clear I must step on that path and follow it. 

So dear young photographers, be brave. Say yes to projects even if you don't feel ready. If people pick you based on your portfolio, it means they see something in you. Also, make mistakes, lots of them, even if at the moment they don't feel good. Mistakes are great teachers and good propellers for self improvement.

Episode 1: The fish stall

Episode 2: Mannequins

Episode 3: The black cat