All images by Vladimir Gheorghiu. Used with permission.
Vladimir Gheorghiu is a 22 year old Romanian photographer interested mainly in concert, portrait, street photography and music. Indeed, visit his EyeEm account and you’ll see loads of this. He’s young, and would like to pursue a career in photography and to tour as a photographer with any kind of band. He’s also the winner of our recent Youth of Today contest with EyeEm.
For Vlad, it’s all about finding a way to convert sounds into images. While most other photographers will go for interaction between the artists and the crowd, Vlad goes for a more ethereal, cinematic, and even painterly look.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Vlad: There’s nothing too special about it. When I was around around 14 years old my parents bought a little mirrorless Sony which I claimed totally after a short time. I started to take photos of everything but looking back I can’t say that I was too passionate about it. Only when I got into university and moved to Bucharest did I start to take things more seriously.
Phoblographer: What made you get into concert photography?
Vlad: I’m also a singer so when I moved to the capital to start my studies I wanted to get in a band. I started to go to a lot of shows, especially in small venues with underground local bands. I wanted to learn the ropes and get in touch with the people that were involved in the scene. Sometimes, I had my camera with me and took some photos. After a short time, a friend told me that a big Romanian rock&metal webzine were looking for a photographer. I emailed them with a portfolio of just…5 concerts. A fruitful collaboration started afterwards.
Phoblographer: Which photographers do you feel have really influenced you in your concert shooting? That is, who are your favorite concert photographers, and why do you like their work?
Vlad: In contrast to other types of photography, I didn’t look for inspiration in other photographers’ work but rather in music. Concert photography is not just a visual art, but a double sided type of art. Above all, a concert photographer has to be able to convey the music of the artist he’s shooting into a photograph. He has to be able to convey sounds into images. So one needs to master the art of photography, but also to be aware of music. It’s similar to the idea of an album’s artwork. In some cases you’re first attracted to the artwork, buy the album, and then you discover the music. It goes the same way with concert photography. You see a photo of an artist, it catches your eye and you want to listen to his music.
To answer your question, even before I ever thought I was going to shoot concerts, I had been watching the works of the Romanian concert photographers association. A lot of great and talented dudes that you could find by following the hashtag „#find_us”. It’s a sad story behind it, but #find_us is our motto and it’s the way we open to the public in order for them to discover us, to discover our work. I’m saying „our” because now I am also a part of this beautiful team.
Phoblographer: Tell us about the winning image for the EyeEm contest. It looks like second curtain flash but how did you go about capturing the image?
Vlad: Yes, that’s how it’s made. A used a flash set at the second curtain and my setting were: f/5.6, 1/6s and ISO 800. It was a Madball concert (hardcore band from USA) and everybody was stage diving, crowd surfing and moshing all around the place. I got on top of a subwoofer and started taking photos whilst trying not to get my camera damaged. It was a crazy experience because I was feeling the energy of the music, the atmosphere and also the adrenaline produced by the risk I was taking.
I have always been a big fan of flash concert photography especially in small venues. It reminds of the 80-90’s grunge or punk scene where although some photos were blurry or too grainy they caught the vibe of that music. That’s what I’m aiming for.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear that you use. Why do you choose it specifically?
Vlad: I use a Canon 60D with the following lenses: Canon 50 f/1.8, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC, Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 USD VC and Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM, Nissin Di600 flash. My favourite is the Canon 10-22 (which is the last one I bought). Besides the incredibile wide angle, I love getting very close to the artist and capture his face and body expressions while creating music, the unity between him and his instrument, and of course, the interaction with the public and the whole atmosphere. The 10-22 has helped me to achieve all these shots and that’s why I love it.
Phoblographer: Concert photography for years has very much been about capturing interactions between the crowd and the musicians. But what you do is more candid concert portraiture. What image of yours is your most favorite, and why?
Vlad: It’s very difficult to choose a favourite image because you get very subjective. Either you have photos with bands you love, but they aren’t your best work, either the other way round. Or you have a photo that has been shared by the artist himself on social media, but from your point of view you believe that another one was better and so on.
In the end, I guess like all my work. Some of my photos are bad, some are medium, some could have been better, some of them them are good but it doesn’t matter. All of them have helped me become the photographer I am today. And this process is still on going.