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.