Michelle De Rose is a talented 22 years old artist, student and photographer from Brasov, currently based in Constanta, Romania. Michelle uses Nikon D7000, she shoots a lot of fashion, beauty and fine art portraits. But you’re about to find out more about her in the following interview Cultartes made.
Michelle: Haha, no problem. No, it’s not my real name, I chose it a long time ago… it was easier for others to remember it when I used to live in Italy… and for me it expresses elegance and delicacy. I am from Brasov, Romania. Initially, after finishing high school, I moved to Italy to continue studying. After half a year, I fell in love with a Romanian and came back to Romania, to live in Constanta. And…my real name is Mihaela Coman.
Hmm… my first proper photo series was ‘When I see purity‘, in which in person I photographed was a wonderful albino girl. I have to say I felt very honored to take pictures of her and I couldn’t help but publish a lot of photos with her… she was simply gorgeous.
Can you describe your current artistic process, habits, techniques you have formed?
I can’t say I have a complex artistic process, however I developed the ability to rarely take my camera with me when I go outside even though sometimes I maybe regret because I always feel the need to plan before I take pictures… so having the camera on me all the time is useless. Some techniques I’ve formed are regarding the way I split my frame… I like playing around with angles, until I find an interesting one; I’ve started being more selective, I don’t publish just anything simply for the sake of it. I’m a bit obsessed when I take pictures, in the sense that I want to do everything: make-up, hair, positions the model should take.
I’m more attracted to expressing feelings of sadness.
What kind of qualities do you look for in other people? How do you choose your models?
I think I have a weakness for red-heads with freckles and blue eyes, haha. But it doesn’t really matter what colour the hair or the eyes are… the most important thing is expressiveness. Usually, before taking pictures I meet with them for a coffee so we can get to know each other and get used to one another. That helps a lot when I’m taking pictures of them… they’re more uninhibited and we get along better. And sometimes I think that every person I photograph represents a part of my personality.
Most of your photography is of people, have you experimented with other kinds of photography? What attracted you to portraiture?
Honestly, I haven’t experimented with other kinds of photography, I haven’t had the opportunity and I didn’t feel it would attract me. What attracted me to portraits is what you can express through them… the opportunity to exploit people’s feelings (sadness, melancholy, numbness, stillness, liberty, captivity etc.); I’m more attracted to expressing feelings of sadness.
How important is your emotional state when taking photographs? Does it influence your work?
Oh, of course. Usually, my emotional state influences the way I take pictures, especially during the post-processing. When I feel sad, angry, tired etc I prefer taking self-portraits. However, if I have to take certain kind of photos and I have to edit them in a certain way, I try not to mix my feelings in the photos. I try.
Does the conception come first or does the piece evolve naturally – do you have a clear idea of what it will be before you start to make it?
Usually, I have a pretty clear idea about the conception I will be applying, however, there are moments, quite often, when I hit a block… I want to create but I can’t; or I get in front of the model and I forget almost everything I wanted to do… or I become shy, thinking that maybe the model won’t like my idea… and I end up taking pictures that are different from what I had planned. Or… I let everything evolve normally, the way the model likes it, using ideas from both sides… this works best with a friend of mine, who is a model, but she has moved away… far away. So, I guess I need a stronger connection with the people I take pictures of, in order to apply absolutely all the ideas I come up with.
The emotion that comes through in your portraits is extraordinary. Romance, sensuality, youth and the female body seem the main focus on your work. What message do you want to convey?
Every photo expresses a sensation I’ve been through, a feeling I’ve had or still have. For instance, the desire to escape, to let myself be blown away by the wind until I reach the heart of the forest; the fulfillment I feel when I run my fingers through the sand, or on soft fabric, veils or flowers. I think this is the message I want to express: sadness, melancholy, escape, the feelings of a dreamer, focusing on the small details: hands, different positions they’re captured in, eyes, lips, certain fragments of the body (hips, clavicle, back, spine) – which can have an infinite symbolism to people, that is interpretable by every person.
I find your work quite similar to Marta Bevacqua (which I interviewed here for Muzaholic ). What do you think about this? Am I wrong? What other artists influence you?
Although I’ve always been inspired by Marta Bevacqua’s work, I consider that we all have our own personal style. What I like most about Marta Bevacqua is the way her photos are edited, besides the wonderful ideas she has. Other artists who have influenced me, and still do… the great Tim Walker, MertAlas&Marcus Piggott, Kiki Xue, UldusBakhtiozina, Mira Nedyalkova, Andrew Tarnawczyk, Monia Merlo, Cristina Coral etc.
Your “Secret Garden” project seems so tense and magical. What camera did you use?And what’s the story behind it?
“Secret garden” is about escaping to a place where your mind can wander aimlessly to another place and time, far away in the distance, where you can learn about the whispers of the wind and trees…where you can feel the delicacy of leaves that fall on your skin. Just close your eyes sometimes.
I used my Nikon D7000, with 18-105mm.
How do you like your coffee?
Espresso (Italian Coffee).
What are you five dream locations to shoot?
Norway, Red Beach(Panjin), Tianzi Mountains(China), Zhangye Danxia Landform(China), Gougi Island(China), Underwater cities, Abandoned places in general.
Ups, there are more than five.
What are you working on now? Have you ever exhibited?
No, I’ve never exhibited, although I would like to.
As soon as I will find time, I will start working on a theme I haven’t approached before, however shhh… it’s secret.
All images (c) Michelle De Rose