Andrei Nico is a brilliant advertising copywriter and graphic designer currently based in Bucharest, Romania. He’s a firm believer in the power of literature to enrich the mind and delight the imagination, inspire hope and build character. Photography and Andrei have recently joined hands to shine a light on a new medium of expression. Hopefully, it will all work out for the best.
Interview by Laura Beatrice Herman
- Tell us a bit about you, Andrei. What is your background? I know photography is more or less of a new affair for you. How and when did you get into it and especially into Polaroid photography? Did you have some sort of an ‘a-ha’ moment?
My name is Andrei Nicolescu and I have a background in advertising. I am specialized in copywriting and enjoy working in graphic design for personal and professional projects. Polaroid photography has captured my attention when I met my girlfriend Ioana Casapu – her passion drew me to the medium of instant film. It started as a hands-on experience, she would ask me to photograph her and experiment with my creativity. I already am the type of Instagram husband you read about, the choice of analog came naturally. Plus, I have a really great model to look up to. And 20/20 vision.
- You create work in other creative mediums too – how did that shape your view on photography as a further choice of means of expression?
I have read Roland Barthes’ – Camera Lucida – the author’s work on photography, I studied the theory behind image making at the university, I work with words and images in my profession, I buy photography for advertising projects, I capture my own images on a digital camera for various clients, I know what to ask for from photographers in order to create a visual narration, the instant film medium itself is something I have not had the chance to practice on my own, yet Polaroid presented itself as a hobby that turned into a potential art project. It is my venture into making original images – I thought if other people can do it, I might as well try to excel at it.
- Fast forward to today: how do you see your journey with instant photography so far and what part does it play in your existence?
My journey with instant photography started when I was a kid and my parents brought home a Polaroid camera to photograph my brother Cristi’s gymnastics contests. We used to travel with him as his family support team. He won numerous medals and was a pro gymnast. I captured one image of him in the gym at Dinamo Club, he was much shorter in size as a gymnast, but grew up to be the same size as me in about two years. I like that I have personal Polaroids from my days as a kid. It means that somehow I have a history with the film.
- In today’s disposable, digital culture, we place tremendous value on the fresh and the new. How do you feel about the tactile, irrevocable side of the Polaroid photography? A captured instant is utterly ephemeral —except when there are physical traces to re-discover?
Instant photography is instantly gratifying. It has a feeling of presence, it captures emotion in motion, a moment in time, it has latency, transiency, permanence, it is history in the making. You can see the effect of light falling upon photographic emulsions and the chemical process involved in the development of an image. The process might reveal glitches, light flares, burns, the alchemy of colors as they mirror reality through a lens. There are physical traces to re-discover each time you touch a processing image and hold it in your front pocket, close to the heat source of your heart.
- What of yourself do you see in your photography – what story do your images speak of you?
The images I hold dear convey the story of my friends and family. The concept of the work I am exhibiting is – The impossible project – I am trying to capture the supernatural, the absurd, the improbable, the unlikely, the otherworldly, a personal imaginarium made reality.
- Do you ever go out explicitly to shoot or is it always a spontaneous situation prompted by something you see that catches your eye? Is there a conscious mindset that overcomes you or more of an awareness of the world, its forms, the light etc.?
A spontaneous act in itself, analog photography on instant film allows the creator the freedom to move within a small frame. It’s where the magic happens. As you know, instant film cannot capture great detail from afar, like digital photography; it’s sort of like looking through a small window to see the world at large. It brings one closer to the subjects that capture attention. You have to go get a picture, you cannot just take it. The concept of personal, intimate space comes into play. One has to get up close and personal with the subject(s) of the image.
- Say you could go back in time – can you share with us a particular memory you wish you had had the chance to imprint on instant film?
Yes. The moment I have set my eyes on a girl, in an airport in Berlin, she was wearing a fur hat with a golden horse pin on the side, a black fur coat, jeans and comfortable leather loafers. The way she looked at me is imprinted in my visual memory, it was warm, kind, lovingly familiar, I will never forget the image, her look, her round visage, her blue eyes, her aura.
- Is it fair to say that you take photos to feel a connection? Or that you are into fleeting connections. A small piece of shared time. To what extent is this true for you?
Connection is important in instant photography. You have to be close to your subjects, you have to feel the moment, let it unfurl, move in synergy to capture the hypostasis of a particular emotion. People use instant film to have fun with their friends. I try to make the process an event in itself.
- What inspires you or pulls your creative trigger? Not just photographic-wise, but anything along the lines of the musical, literary, cinematic – you name it.
I am inspired by creative people with engaging ideas, they spark up my imagination. I am inspired by free speech, discourse, storytelling, improvisation, sarcasm, irony, people with rich vocabulary and fantastic sense of style. I like to improvise and interact with people. I consider myself a situationist and will stage a play when people least expect it to. My humor will confuse and lead people on. My actions will amaze and my words will charm. I enjoy the spectacle of life.
- Tell us a bit about your being a part of the Emotion to Motion exhibition and about the Romanian Polaroid Photographers’ community.
“You need a vision, you need a project.” – This is the concept that sparked my interest to help Ioana Casapu organize an exhibition in Bucharest for the Romanian Polaroid Photographers community. at KUBE Musette. I try to be of service in every way I can, in creative matters, in logistics, communication, general management. She’s the brain of the project, involved in PR and artist management, I am her assistant. We have connected our networks to bring together a design studio – MOFT – to design the setting for the exhibition, with a production workshop – Parametric Fab – to craft the décor design, we have connected Fortin Agency as our principal sponsor of communication, we have partnered with F64 and Impossible Project (Berlin) to sponsor with film and media, we have been provoked by Grolsch to experiment the instant film medium at its utmost, we have partnered with numerous media outlets to communicate the event, we have drafted friendly volunteers to help with the organization, we have invested time and effort to make the project possible. Fingers crossed for the exhibition, you’re gonna love the experience of Emotion in Motion.
Laura B. Herman is a communication strategist based in London, working as a creative in the big bad corporate arena. With a background in multi-hat marketing, she gives content consultancy on various projects and fuels her artistic urges through the outlets of creative writing and painting. More on Laura’s personal take on the world here.