April 18, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Updates On The Childhood Project

I mentioned before that I began working on a new personal project about childhood. Until I figure out a more specific angle from which to approach it, I'm sharing some of the Q&As from the questionnaire I conducted as part of my research phase.

What's your first memory?

"I was crawling in the foyer of our house and I tried to use a houseplant on a stand to pull myself up to standing. But when I did it fell over, and I cried. My mom ran into the room and said "Bad houseplant!" as if I weren't at fault."

"My grandmother teaching me to say three as I was soon turning 3 years old."

"Frustration. I couldn’t talk."

"Sittin' in my crib with my blanket."

What scared you as a child?    


"My bedroom had a balcony and the TV aerial was attached on it. It squeaked in any breeze and I think I didn't sleep properly for about eight years. Was convinced some invader was going to get in. Every night."

"Dad raising his voice."

"The dark, being alone."

"Monsters under the bed."

"The toilet flushing."

"Dreams about being left behind."

What was your favourite thing to do?    

"Read books and ride horses."

"Draw or make collages."

"Climb the tree in my grandmother's yard."

"Running. Everywhere. And sneaking behind the cars garage to play in a forbidden place."


"Lie on the floor and look through the 'big books' and the pile of 'Observers' books we had! Making things, too. I loved making things like the chairs for toys made out of cut and bent cardboard boxes. And of course reading. And, on hot days, I would go, sometimes with my brother, into the farmland that was on our right. In the field next to our cul-de-sac were a load of ancient farm vehicles (oh the horse drawn type) as well as a Spitfire that had come down, and a couple of army jeeps, all, under some very old corrugated iron roofed open barns. Talk about dangerous kids paradise! "

"Play and experiment with objects, which usually meant ruining them :))"

What’s something you didn’t like about grownups?   

"They weren’t honest."

"They treated me like a kid."

"They smoked."

"How their words defined you."

"They wouldn’t talk to me or listen to what I had to say."

"They didn't let children talk when they were talking, it is somewhat disrespectful to talk/contribute when adults are conversing (when your views have not been requested)."

"That they didn't answer all my questions and they told me that the right time to know all that will eventually come at some point."

"They never knew how to play."

"Their way of making rules without any explanation."

"They were too tall."


"They would tell me things are impossible (like owning a horse in an apartment or bringing a statue home)."


April 15, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Work in progress: The childhood project

The childhood project © Ioana Bîrdu

© Ioana Bîrdu

When I was younger, every now and then, I had this craving. Something within me fought to come out and it wouldn't stop until it was free. Whenever this happened I took my camera and, in lack of a better model, I photographed myself in an attempt to express whatever it was I was feeling. For a good many years, expressing myself was the sole purpose of my photographs. 

The feeling never left, but the goal transformed and evolved over time. It became less about self expression and more about observing others. I wanted to tell stories about people.

Looking back on my photographic work I realised I have lots of fragments and mixed up pieces from different puzzles. Which was fine, but it also felt too comfortable and not enough anymore. In order to grow and challenge myself I need to try something different, learn and explore beyond my comfort zone. I needed a personal project.

Yet, despite this understanding, I had zero ideas of where to start or what to do. And it felt very frustrating. Than back in March, secretly wishing someone would hand me the answer on a silver platter and end all my misery, I attended a talk focused on exactly that: personal projects. And as I stood there listening about other people's stories and seeing their amazing projects it hit me. I already knew what my project will be about. It's been with me for many years and it never ceased to fascinate me. 

I decided to explore the theme childhood. Yet childhood in itself is still a pretty vague and general topic. Something more specific was needed. So I began by putting together a questionnaire and with the help of some wonderful people I managed to gather a little over one hundred answers. Thank you so much to everyone who helped with answers or shared and spread the word. I couldn't have done it without you. 

This is my research phase. The origin story. I will continue to document the project and the process as I move forward. 


© 2023 Ioana Bîrdu