There are people and there are artists, there are artists and there are muses. Sometimes these 3 just intertwine in a perfection that is non-existent in the tumultuous reality we live in. There are people that carry emotions and thoughts like vessels, gathering inside them the weight of the world to transform and give back to others in an art form. They help change and touch society in a way only the spirit does.
For an artist to meet his/her muse is like a divine intervention that rarely can be expressed in mundane words. My eternal muse was Raluca Rosu. I met her 4 years ago. I was doing a project based on one of Freud’s sexual developments of the psyche and having heard she wanted very much to meet me and work with me, I decided to go ahead. I had no idea what I was about to find in Raluca. We met at a hotel where she was staying at that time. When I photographed her I felt all kinds of sensations and emotions and I still look back on that day as one of the most intense of my shootings. The images spoke to us in ways words never could come out. This was one of our things that remained until today. We didn’t need many words to create together. Besides a few ideas that we exchanged, when we used to shoot together, there was always silence… silence…, emotions and music that guided us into a swirling vortex of emotions and thoughts that was our playground.
There we were safe to let everything inside us come out, be accepted and cherished, transformed. It was more healing than any therapy we ever did. Somehow she always knew what I was thinking and feeling and I knew the same about her. From that connection, we would move and capture images of everything that we laid on the table, our insides out. My projections were almost identical to hers and vice-versa. The roles of artist and muse were changing as we went along every time like she once said in a blog post. She inspired me and I inspired her.
And then there was our friendship, a one unlike any other. We talked for hours in a way we could understand each other both emotionally and intellectually. We laid out our deepest fears, our darkest moments and our stories from early childhood that some people don’t get the chance to speak about. Every meeting we ever had, with or without the camera brought us closer to our inner truths. We never feared to be ourselves, we contained each other and listened patiently to each word and every gesture we made. We had departures and new arrivals within our friendship and the artistic movement we did, but somehow we always got back to the center of it all.
Raluca was a muse for me unlike no other. She remained and always will be that for me. I will not say she left way too soon, because I learned throughout the years that we can never decide when it is the right time for someone to leave this world, put things in a box like society says we should. Raluca hated labels and was beyond this time and space; she didn’t fit in any box, not because she was too big or too small for one but because she was a free spirit. That’s probably one of the reasons why we got along so perfectly. Her freedom and beauty stood tall and fiercely against everything that traps our spirits in this world. They say artists are misunderstood people, but I have to say that the artist and Raluca was for sure one, are people that feel and capture things that others pay no attention to. They try to put them out in the world in ways that go straight to the hearts of others and helps them on an intellectual level to ask themselves questions that they are too afraid to face.
Raluca was a courageous woman, ready to put herself out there, her ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Sometimes that can leave your heart broken in ways no lover or close one can break it because some people have a cruel desire to try to break and mock what they don’t understand instead of just trying to look inside and listen, listen to the one who is brave enough to be vulnerable and honest. Raluca was that, and she continued to be true to herself no matter how many people tried to break her, and there so many that did break her amazing big heart.
Raluca was a survivor of a severe depression, that could rarely be seen from her social media profiles, though she was very open about it and encouraging people to seek help when in need. What others don’t see, not only about her but about every frail human soul going through something like that is the amount of bullying and the abuses, the high pressure put on such fragile shoulders. She was bullied for being different, disrespected in her art because most designers, magazines and fashion fairs didn’t care to pay her for her gifts and efforts she made. That leaves a soul broken and no matter how many likes you get on social media or followers, what is broken is broken until we learn to value and appreciate the people around us.
When I got the call and found out she killed herself at first I couldn’t believe it, because I’ve seen her lately and she was better than I ever saw her, but the thing with suicide and depression that people don’t seem to comprehend is that it is a silent killer. At first, you ask for help, sometimes you receive it, sometimes you don’t… and then comes the stigma that you are crazy, you are weak, they say you talk about suicide because you want attention…. Until you shut up, not bother anyone else with your pain. And you start believing every wicked thing people tell you in that low moment of your life. This can lead to tragedy. In her case it did and I wish she stayed here a little longer cos she had so much to offer to the world and to herself.
I am sure that what Raluca would want the world to finally understand is to be more kind and understanding, to listen with compassion those who are vulnerable and brave enough, to be honest, instead of throwing rocks. She wanted peace and understanding because she very well knew how the cruelty of others marks the soul.
Raluca & Me at our last shooting we did together this year
I never remember a moment in our friendship when she hurt me intentionally or unintentional. She was kind and loving, unlike most people I ever met. To others who didn’t know her this intimately, she was this beautiful woman with a unique sense of fashion style, a great writer, and model. To us, those who knew her well, she was beyond anything that you can put into words. I tried my ways with words but ended up showing more in the photographs I took of her. She came into my life and filled it with something I don’t have a word for, and she left without leaving a hole because she gave enough to last for eternity. She created eternity through everything she did. Her mortal flesh might be gone, I will never hear her voice again, do art together or feel her warm embrace, but she is here with me through everything she ever did or said and that not even death can take away. I do think now that she will continue to live on through all that she created and through everything those of us who loved her will continue to create with her essence until we leave this world too.
So I guess we are all eternal, that is what I feel deeply now as I write these words. Raluca was and will be eternal. Thank you, my dear muse and friend for entering my life and deciding to play such a huge role in it. Thank you for everything that you offered not only to me but to everyone who ever met you and what you put out there for the world to see and read. I will indeed miss talking and seeing you, but I know you left me with enough to last me for a lifetime and more. Thank you, for being who you were. I am grateful for everything. May your journey in this Universe be a kind and gentle one like that of your beautiful heart.
Forever grateful for the moments we spend and created together,
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