Ioana Cristina Casapu: “Polaroid will still be proof that our world was beautiful”

In this short documentary, we talk to Ioana Cristina Casapu, co-founder of Romanian Polaroid Photographers and producer of upcoming group show “Emotion In Motion” about the past and future of instant photography, memories imprinted on film and the nature of art through emotions.

Interview by Medine Pop

  1. If your past 10 years would fit the frame of a Polaroid, think of 5 elements that can be seen in the photographic composition.

The Northern Sea in Katwijk, trains, airplanes, the sky, my hair.

Netherlands, 2014, ©  Ioana Cristina Casapu
Netherlands, 2014, © Ioana Cristina Casapu
  1. A place in the world that you would like to encapsulate forever inside a Polaroid photo, frozen with a magnet on your fridge door.

The windy hill at sunset behind my family’s countryside house, where the forest begins and grows all the way up. That’s where my father grew up, that’s where it all ends and begins.

  1. If Polaroid is the answer, which was the question?

How to make photography affordable and available in every American household, and give these people a physical memory of their presence on Earth?

  1. It is a Sunday morning, late summer, a hotel room, in Lisbon.

– what year is it?

– what music is playing?

– what can be seen on the table at the window?

– what are you wearing?

– what are you waiting?

It’s 2030, and the orchestra outside plays the first notes of Efterklang’s Black Summer which has become a classical piece. There’s a paper fan with birds on the table, like the ones our mothers used to carry. Next to it, a large carafe of cold water and notes I took for the interviews I have to give on Monday. I’m wearing a large, unraveling black dress, half sheer, half breezy, and old sapphire jewelry. I am waiting to secretly marry the love of my life this afternoon.

  1. Impersonating Bucharest as a man you are committed to, what would you call down in a debate regarding the reasons behind a possible break up?

This should be rather addressed to the people running this city, and it calls for neglecting its health, abusing it emotionally, cutting its trees and forcing the rest of us to build parallel lives so that we can actually construct and achieve something. It all comes down to melancholia when I look at Bucharest, not the sort of melancholia unfinished conversations have, but the type that builds up from the ground when a monumental house has lost its soul and has been demolished, when your memories are replaced with glass and concrete towers, when people forgot to live in bars and dance.

  1. Speaking of Bucharest, you declare yourself a nomad on the road, with no strings attached. However, when you are at “home”, in this city, what are your urban rituals that fuel your inspiration and creative mood?

I have grown quite isolated from the vibrance of this city since I returned, or since I decided it was a good idea to turn my back to things and places that hurt. We grow in isolation, fundamentally, but as we return to the old us, triggered by a bare emotion, a scent or a summer memory, life finds new ways to recreate itself. I like walking alone in the afternoon and checking up old buildings. Imagine the past lives behind those walls. The secret loves and the quiet tenderness. I am still past ridden after all these years, and Bucharest still has its very own grande bellezza, even though it’s not my first choice of living anymore.

  1. Name some product brands that were born and buried in the past and that you wish survived the present days, just as Polaroid did.

The original Chanel no. 5 formula, now banned from beauty stores due to possible health risks. My fragrance has a life span of only up to 2 hours. The only trace of real No. 5 is the one I can sometimes sense at old ladies who fill the room with perfume when they walk in because it still had the old formula. Such a shame.

  1. If I give you an instant camera with only one paper left inside. It’s the last instant camera in the world. What would you shoot and why?

The Carpathian mountains as they can be seen on a sunny day in spring from the 12th floor of the Geology Institute in Bucharest where my father took me when I was 8. It will be chipped and torn in one hundred years, but will still be proof that our world was beautiful.

  1. A memory you wish you could have imprinted on film but didn’t?

My grandmother. I wish she could’ve lived enough to become part of my artwork.

  1. Photography is the art, an instant camera is a tool. How can you transform simple snap shots of ordinary life into bites of artistic expression?

You have to love your subjects, even when you loathe them. The bipolar nature of journalism (and possibly any art) is the same – to write very good about any possible subject is to become the subject. At least for an instant.

.Medine Pop is the Co-Founder of the Bucharest based unconventional dining club, WeDine, & StoryTeller.

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