January 22, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Behind the click. Episode 4: Andreea

 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

November 20, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Behind The Click. Episode 3: The Black Cat

A series of recollections about the Why 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 and after the photograph is made.


Woolwich 2018. © Ioana Bîrdu

I see many of them in the nearabouts of where I live. Most wear black and white or just black, like this one. She’s always there, on the shortcut, observing the world from the windowsill in some sort of contemplative meditation. 

When I pass her by I wave or smile and by the way she looks at me, I know she says hi back.

This portrait is a gift to her, something to remember me by.

I hope she likes it. 


Episode 1: The fish stall

Episode 2: Mannequins

November 13, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Behind the click, episode 2: Mannequins

A series of recollections about the Why 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 and after the photograph is made.


Woolwich market, 2018. © Ioana Bîrdu

There is a certain mystery surrounding mannequins. It's there every time I'm near them, a secret life they live and we, oblivious, just pass them by. Replicas used to display, they are in fact observers, witnesses of our world.

The eight above, I wonder what is it they've lost; that empty space above their chest. Is that the reason for their contempt?

And as I make their portrait an unsettling thought takes shape - what if they know I know? 

Episode 1: The fish stall

Episode 3: The black cat

November 12, 2018Comments are off for this post.

Behind the click, episode 1: The fish stall

A series of recollections about the Why 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 and after the photograph is made.


street photography, street story

Woolwich market, 2018.

First comes the smell. Pungent and salty. Then the man, his face hidden behind the stall and it makes me think of all the other faceless people who prepare the food we  buy.

It’s afternoon when I make the picture and I don’t know how long he’s been there. He doesn’t come there every day. Maybe it’s just a part time job. What else does he do the rest of the week? Does he have a family? Kids?

Through the viewfinder I notice the reds and the blues that repeat themselves along the frame, foreground and background, in layers. His hands, protected by plastic red gloves now look like claws, for he himself is turning into a fish. Behind him, the woman with oyster hair thinks about a dream she had last night.


Episode 2: Mannequins

Episode 3: The black cat