Octavian Cărare is a Romanian photographer who has been living in the Belgian capital for 7 years, outlining stories of artists everywhere. If you open his web page and see his photographs, you could swear that he’s the luckiest man in the world – ballerinas of an astonishing beauty and grace as one can only see in art movies or on the great scenes of Operas around the world. This was the first thing I thought of when I saw his profile, ‘How does this guy feel at the photo sessions being surrounded by such beautiful women?’
Octavian is 31 years old and to this age, he has explored many professions, from hotel receptionist to election observer for the European Commission. None of these jobs was suitable enough for his rebel and creative soul.
Autor: Adrian Baltariu Autor: Vladimir Negru
His father inspired his childhood. He used to look at his father’s photographs that he had taken with his old film camera when he was young. The imagination of the child of those days saw the film camera as a creative means for playing. Today, this play turned into his source of living. “I inherited my passion for photography from my father. He seldom used film photos in his youth. I started to learn photography in my adolescence and I was preoccupied both by the technical part and by the history of photography. The true passion and commitment in photography arose with my first collaborations during faculty with a press agency and with the love for reportage photography and documentary photography, which, after all, remain my passions.”
Octavian’s initial training was in a non-artistic field. He studied at the Faculty of Political Sciences and has a Masters in European Studies, universities that he graduated in Iași, Romania, his hometown. Octavian arrived in Belgium in 2011 for a Masters in European Studies. “The first sensation I had when I moved to Brussels was that I was the only person there who couldn’t fit in. I was looking at the people and I was thinking everyone had a direction, everyone aspired to something, and was heading towards a purpose. I was the only one who felt disoriented. However, the idea of going back to my country after a short period would have been a failure to me. I couldn’t even think about it. Even if it was hard, I really wished I would get to feel like home in Belgium, which actually was exactly what happened.
After another unfinished Masters in Brussels, he “mustered up his courage” and started to take up photography. “At first, I worked in parallel, so, for a period I worked for the European Commission as an election observer in countries such as Congo, Mali, Malawi, and Haiti. Despite the fact that I didn’t have time to take photos there as I would have like to, the field work in those places fascinated me, it opened new horizons and taught me how to get closer to people. Travelling to Africa, I discovered that there are so many things in our lives, which are useless; objects that we are attached to without any specific purpose. We get attached to things and we give them meaning to fill the emptiness in our relationships and to create a temporary comfort.”
At the end of 2012, he became a certified photographer and started to make a living from his passion. “The start was quite difficult, I can’t deny that. At a certain point, I had two more jobs besides being a photographer, in order to survive. I also worked as a hotel receptionist. I believe that for any passion that becomes a job one has to work enormously and consistently despite the difficulties that arise.”
Octavian’s photographs visually enchant us with different stories. From photographs of couples to those of dancers and other artists, the young man stirs various feelings in viewers. “For a long time, I used to practice and I was fascinated by urban photography and worked a lot with portraits. Then, gradually, I started to work with dancers and became very fascinated by movement and by the possibility to freeze the movement, to place the subject in relation to or in antinomy with architecture, with the urban environment and, thus, the #lemouv project was born.”
“The light reflected by a building on a dancer can give a new dimension to a photograph. I found out that behind a dance pose or leap – in a photo that is taken at 1/1000 of a second, there are years of sacrifice, hard work, accomplishments and fails. When I started the project, I was asking dancers in Belgium to let me photograph them, but not having what to show them at that time, many were reluctant and were not motivated to work with me. Shortly after the project started and I began having more and more images, the same dancers that refused me in the beginning came back to collaborate. I worked both with women and men; however, women predominate for the simple reason that it is more difficult to find men practicing classical dance.”
Besides photography, Octavian loves music, traveling, and reading. He considers himself an audiophile and his favourite artist is Christian Scott, a successful American trumpeter whom he had the opportunity to meet in Brussels and to also to photograph.
Travelling is part of his professional life. He had projects in places such as Geneva, Catania, Munich, Athens, Prague, Luxembourg, and Lille. “Travelling allows us to be open, to better understand ourselves and others as we become more emphatic. On the whole, we become more tolerant, wiser, more receptive, and more present.”
Life in Brussels brings many opportunities but each time he returns to his home country he has contrasting feelings. “During the first days I feel like I don’t fit in and that I can’t find myself, but after a few more days spent in Romania I always think I should come back. For the moment, I am very much concentrated on my work and I wish to become better in what I do and this, one day, may be equal to returning to my home country.”