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Come in! There are a few adventures I’ve written about, but most of the content offers classes in photography and mentoring for photographers, including photo theory, which, although a vital part in our profession, is largely an overlooked subject in all published media that profits from and feeds our gadget minded mindset today.

“A Quest for Beauty” by Madalina Iordache-Levay

August 25 2009 - Gallery News

Madalina is a special artist, combining interesting and thoughtful concepts with a talent to masterfully combine photo based elements to complete her personal vision. Below, in her own words, she talks about the making of one of her amazing visual images.


Definitely one of my most complex works, A Quest of Beauty started as a challenge – to illustrate Beauty for a chronicle at Neosynthesis, an art group that used to be a part of. Beauty can be understood at many levels: from the most personal and intimate, to theoretical ideal, and to metaphors evaluating the world and humankind to what they have become. I tried to comprise different levels of understanding into this picture. There are many angles and lights in which this image can be looked at and into. But from idea to refined image there is a long way.

From idea to refined concept there is a long way. I am a photographer who doesn’t take photos, but makes photos, so I need to carefully prepare the steps before I even take the camera out of my bag. I start with a rough sketch, which helps me realize if my idea is comprisable in a two-dimensional world (in our mind, we always see multi-dimensionally, a God-like perspective over our planned work). Sketching helps me organize my composition and identify the elements I need to photograph. It also makes it easier to explain to the model the desired pose and expression.

After sketching, I know what photographs I need to take (or to find in my archive) to move to the next step. Finding the right model is always the most important for me – because my compositions revolve around the human figure. In “A Quest for Beauty”, it was the first time I worked with Cindy, but we communicated very well and she managed to pull off the expression I was looking for.

The photo was shot in the studio, in a “bath o light” to be able to further “transfer” her in an outdoor, open-sky environment. Cindy was holding a piece of glass, because although I knew I would remove all the transparent areas to replace them with the landscape; I wanted to accurately capture the shadows and the effects of the pressure on her hands and her thighs.

Then, it was just a matter of putting the pieces together and creating the right atmosphere. A lot of selecting, cutting, blending, color adjustments, and a little bit of painting (to create the flowing hair look). I always use a graphic tablet and pen in my Photoshop work.