Oct 16, 2012

The End

Grand Tetons, WY, 2012

For my very few readers left, this is the end of this blog. 

I have started this 2 years ago in the quest for my inner absolution from my thoughts, my lost memories, my ghosts, my nightmares, pushing them into the light by the way of photography. While along the way I discovered that inner ghosts can come in many and surprising forms, at the end of the journey I have found my answer: It's OK to not be perfect.  And when in doubt, look inside your heart, see who is really there and lean on them.

Farewell friends, see you on my proper photo website soon.

Sep 24, 2012

Mr Hyde's improbable schizophrenia

Bucharest, 2012
Have you ever wondered how Mr. Hyde was ever considered himself? I know you may argue the one mad, rough, mindless criminal does not think but takes great pleasure in immersing himself in the vice and crime. But however, he has neurocortex also, so he thinks too. I wonder is he ever considered himself schizophrenic as people reading the book were. Was he thinking something like, well, what can I do, I am trying to be the respectable Dr. Jekyll, but it is stronger than me. And, as long I have this disease, I can't help it. As long as nobody knows it, I can enjoy the dark night temptation.

I don't know if that's true. What I know is that the only way to observe schizophrenia is not from the schizophrenic's side. That's is the real life's side. Mr. Hyde can be understood in a story but Dr. Jekyll must prove himself trustful in real life. And everything else should remain just a story.

Aug 1, 2012

Dancing with the wolves

Devil's Garden, Death Valley, California, 2012
I don't know if it is because public hysteria from the last months, because of the life lack of general security, about the seductive temptation of the oblivion or really about the whole dark side of life, but this days I really feel like I am dancing with the wolves. Big, dark, ugly, filthy wolves.

However, as my picture above hope to prove, there is beauty even in the Devil's garden. So let them come.

Jul 27, 2012

Self awarded 41

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite, CA, 2011
It has been an excellent year. With lots of things happening, important changes in life, big challenges, fulfilling achievements, many places visited and new experiences. It has been an excellent year for my relationship with Cami, with my kids and my family. But above all, it was the year of growing up.

Puparo is fading out, consumer impulses burst and gone, I voluntarily gave up to my middle age sport car for a family one and start getting the courage to assume risk and think for new horizons.

I feel life is still generous with me and 41 is just a new beginning. A controlled, mature, wise, focused, new beginning. It's a self awarded feeling. A self awarded 41.

May 26, 2012

Happiness found in the flooded basement

Bucharest, May - "Flowers Month", 2012
Yes, my basement is flooded again. 2 years after the last episode, 4 years from moving into the house, Romania has transformed into a monsoon country and, after 2 weeks of insanely rainy "spring", together with a large portion of Bucharest, including metro stations, the land around my house become wet as a swamp. Due to sweet project imperfection and sloppy construction work (despite insane price) 2 years ago we had 10 cm of water in the whole basement, everything was wet and damaged. After 3 months of work and more than 10k euros additionally spent we had redone and insulated the whole space. Futile. Insulation imperfection again, insane heavy rain, and water entered again. Not much, but keeps you working the whole night to prevent from spreading. So, where's the happiness?

Trust me, I found it. See the blue towel in my picture above? That's happiness. 

It was a good evening thought, we had stolen 2 hours and run to cinema to see MIB3 (remarkable good btw, the best of the series) because my mother ensured the water fighting shift. She is incredible hard working in her early 60s, fighting water while taking care of two kids and surviving the nerve crisis of my soon-to-be-adolescent girl. But we got home eventually around 23:00 PM and I took over my water fighting shift. There are tools: towels, plenty of them, buckets, broom, hose and a water pump installed in a pit I had the inspiration to place in one of the basement rooms when building the house.

So here I am, bare feet, squeezing wet towels, sucking up water in the hose to create pressure, carrying full buckets to the pit, the whole nine yards! It is past midnight I had a difficult week, did not slept more than 6 hours / night the whole week, facing a sleepless night and all of the sudden starting to laugh. Cause I realized that the blue towel all wet I was squeezing was a Chelsea branded towel. And my mind starts to wander around thinking about how absurd this is, how Chelsea won the cup last week playing the ugliest football style (has it rain during the match?), how I gave up totally to watching football (after being heavy consumption TV fan). And yet again, how come I have a Chelsea towel in my house on the wet floor. I use to be a Barcelona fan, but Chelsea? WTF?

And then I remembered we bought this ugly cheap towel from Ohrid Lake in Macedonia (water again!), in a memorable trip, when I was preparing to bath into the lake and having nothing with us except our clothes. So I enjoyed those memories and suddenly there, among all wetness and struggle, tired and stressed, I found my inner happiness.

It's 3:16 AM now my friends and my happiness pushed me to share this with you now before going to bed. My mother shift should start at 4:00 AM. Sweet dreams!   

May 16, 2012

The Beggar, The Bank and the Sex Shop. Three short stories about a suit

Dryanovo, 2012

First one: Black suit, 2 doors cars, stop light in traffic. The Beggar come from nowhere and start washing (kind of) my back window. I pity him and (unusually) give him a bill left in the car. "Sa traiti domn avocat" he smiles at me. Something like, long live Mr. Lawyer. He had 2 min to judge me from what he felt and interacted with me. I am not a lawyer but he was close.

Second one: Blue suit, white oxford shirt, freshly shaved, walking calmly in the mall at a very relaxed (again unusually) hour with my mind wandering around. In front of me a good looking business dressed lady stops in front of a shop for a second trying to look inside it. Shee realises I am looking towards her, she turns around surprised and embarrassed. It was a sex shop. The she looks straight in my eyes with the most inviting look I ever saw. She had 10 seconds to judge me. Was I a good catch for her?

Third one: Suit again (color doesn't matter), inside the office, calling my bank. 10 min on the line, 5 identification questions. The operator sitting in front of the computer knows EVERYTHING about me, my profession, my bank account. And still talks to me like I am some kind of annoying shit. 

That's the environment my friends here. You have to wear a certain suit people are interested in before treating you with minimum respect.

Apr 30, 2012

Spring is finally here

Bucharest Botanical Garden, 2012
There is so much more to life than everyday hassle, government changes, global crisis or currency depreciation! Just visit botanical garden in the spring. Or close your eyes and remember it!

Mar 21, 2012

Poetul din BMW

Astazi a fost o zi grea. Plecat la 8, intors la 22 si stat in priza non stop. 8 intalniri, alergat intre birouri, clienti, furnizori, creante, vanzari, asociatii, concurenti, licitatii, sedinte, prezentari. Bateria la telefon s-a terminat, apoi s-a terminat si Mophi-ul. Am facut cred vreo 100 km prin oras, majoritatea in mare viteza ca deh, avem bolid. Sa zic asa a fost o zi grea dar buna. Cu ceva succese importante, cu ceva promisiuni interesante, cu ceva dezvoltari spectaculoase si cu aceleasi provocari date de anul asta mizerabil de pe piata. Si uite asa, ora dupa ora, m-a apucat noaptea prin oras si la 10 seara ma vedeam cu tatal meu la scara blocului lui pentru 10 minute. Apoi in sfarsit spre casa.

Pe acest ultim drum al zilei, vreo 2 km, tot agitatie, am gasit altceva de facut, m-am apucat sa butonez radio-ul de la masina sa asez posturile. Deh, aceeasi agitatie, familiar sentiment, cred ca majoritatea dintre cei care ma cititi il cunoasteti. O stare de incapacitate de relaxare a creierului, o agitatie continua ce trebuie alimentata. Cu umblatul la telefon, cu butonatul la masina, cu facut ceva sa iti tina atentia si mintea agitata. Ce mai, sentimentul robotic al workerului corporatist-antreprenorial-bucurestean.

Pana cand, la un moment dat, am dat din intamplare pe Radio Romania Actualitati si am auzit o muzica romaneasca buna dupa care realizatoarea emisiunii spune: "Ziua Mondiala a Poeziei se apropie de sfarsit si la radioul nostru ..." Cati dintre roboti stiu ca astazi a fost Ziua Mondiala a Poeziei?

Si eu, robotul, care-si masura micile succese ale zilei si isi gasea satisfactia in puterea bolidului ... E clar, Eminescu nu a existat ... Noroc cu Kalimero din viata mea.

Good Karma

10 days ago, in my second day in Death Valley, among other wonders I had decided to go and see the only point in the valley where vegetation could be found, Darwin Falls. A small spring which created a small fall and gather around some nice green trees and small forms of vegetation. The Falls are on the opposite side of the valley son it was a long road. I was planning for a quick visit and then hit the road for a short visit to an overlook point and reach the Panamint Dunes for the sunset. Only that I was not sure where the dunes are and how do I reach them!

So, I crossed the valley and then I entered the off road path leading to the Falls. It was worst than I thought it will be as road quality. Far worst that the one to the Racetrack and Wisconsin tourists (from my previous post) had their revenge :) 15 minutes on that road lead me to a place in which there were some cars parked. I parked just under the sign announcing me that I need a 4x4 vehicle to carry on. Indeed the guide was saying that it will be some walking to do. I grabbed my 8 kg photo back pack and start walking on the 4x4 road.

It was a heavy climbing road, it was midday and 30 degrees and no clouds in the sky. Road was OK and I start moaning about over cautious Americans, not allowing my SUV to go there and obliging everyone to walk.  I was eager to meet someone coming down from the Falls and ask about how long I was still supposed to walk. And I kept climbing, and climbing. It is this thing about me that, if I am motivated by taking pictures in a nice natural frame, I can forget my lack of shape and walk and wander for hours and long kilometers. In 2 days in the valley I did more than 30 km on foot! But this time it was a boring mountain road with not interesting landscape and no vegetation. Moreover I started wandering where are the touristic signs for such a landmark. An nobody was coming down. I had climbed for more than 90 minutes, finished all the water and reached very high level.

By the time I reached this old mine facility I was sure I missed the road. I had climbed 6 km, I lost 2 hours I was tired, without water and no soul was around. I had to go back the 6 km. For a planned to the second 2 days holiday like I had this was close to a disaster. Later in the day I could see from a higher ground the road I have climbed. Just follow the entire white line and you will understand how far I walked.

But then, miracle, 2 trucks showed out of nowhere. They were going down. I was, obviously, on the wrong path. I should have crossed the parking place and take the wash coming down from the mountain. He was so kind to give me a ride. "Hop on in the back please". And he went all way down with me jumping around in the back of the track but happy for the lift. In 15 minutes we were back down to the parking place.

He showed me the way. Take that road and in 10 minutes you will be there, but hey, be happy you did a very good exercise by climbing there. It's good for your health. It was no irony in his voice. I thank him for the ride and because he was so nice I told him this was my payback for helping the Wisconsin tourists one day before.

"You have good karma" he told me. And ran away. Indeed, I had a very good karma during those days and maybe always in my life. 10 minutes later, I was shooting Darwin Falls. Missed the Panamint Dunes and drove back home.

And then again, my karma has brought me to the other dunes exactly when the sun was setting upon them. I added another 3 km to my walking distance in that day but it has worth every step.

May your karma be good my friends!

Mar 11, 2012

Nascar make-up artist (for) rocks

Death Valley 2012

Somebody told me that Vegas will be full this weekend because it will be a Nascar race. And indeed, my short visit to Walmart confirmed it. What was the most promoted product (btw, a brilliant piece of punctual sales initiative)? No, not beer. It was cooler boxes! All kind, big small, colorful, lady bags! foam boxes. I bought a small cooler backpack. Obviously not because Nascar, I could not care less, cause I was going to see my own racetrack.

Racetrack Playa is one amazing place in Death Valley California. It's a place where big rocks are sliding leaving racetrack marks behind them. Nobody actually have seen one moving, but they are! If curious see here and how and why is it happening. For my photographic eye this was supposed to be a bliss. And so it was, as picture above confirms it. However, I was not totally lucky to see the full of it because of the weather. The flatbed sand was too dry and marks were little visible. I have spend a couple of hours wandering across the white plain, found many rocks but very few tracks behind them. Or some visible tracks without any rock!

Then I remembered that photography does not always means snapshot, in some cases means art direction. So I simply took one rock and put it at the end of a visible track. I had my pictures and then left it there for the tourists wandering around.

On the way back I had picked up some poor Wisconsin tourists which had the unhappy idea to rent a Wrangler from a local guy, in order to face the "rough" road I was flying on with my Dodge Durango (an SUV). The Wrangler lost it's electrical system in the middle of nowhere. So I picked them up and drove them to the car dealer. On the way back I asked them if they liked the Racetrack Playa. They said yes, too bad there were not too many visible tracks with rocks. 

I guess the guys I have left on the racetrack should have a different opinion.

Mar 9, 2012

Bulgarian Full Moon

Do you remember my little story about the Ms. Croatian taxi driver? We'll you just can top the stories of Vegas taxi drivers. Taxi drives are short here in between hotels or convention centers but taxi drivers are so bored, or maybe just trying to slip under your skin for further business, especially if you are traveling as single man ;), that they are looking to make conversation with you.

So, first was Mansour, a Lebanese which call himself Bill here. Funny guy, as any lebanese he had visited Bucharest and has friends there. He ofered me to show around some hot places, "although I saw you are a married man, I am sorry". He also told me he's in great trouble at night when all the fauna is mounting his cab half drunk and half naked. "And how do you stand?", "Well, every time I see this in my cab I call my wife and say: Nadia dear, take a shower, I am coming home". He has 4 kids and a happy family, as he mentioned to me earlier. And a happy wife I guess.

Then it was a white beard old man looking like a priest, some cheerful black American natives, an Englishman looking like a teacher, bored and superior, a black lady weighting 200 kilos ...

But today I had a guy who won a visa waiver 4 years ago and settled to Vegas to celebrate his luck. The guy is so happy here and from all the taxi drivers I could have met, his a Bulgarian (my "adoptive" country if only for the single year I worked with the RD people there) taxi driver, living in American Southwest, in Vegas, in love with photography. You know how I love this place and how many efforts I make to keep coming and shoot here. Well, the guy was in paradise. My photo paradise. 

He dropped me to the outlets. When I left it was a dark night and so was the taxi driver. He drove silently as we would see the biggest full moon ever raising above The Strip. довиждане my friends.

Mar 7, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

It would be too simple to say that I am jet lagging and did not catch more than 2 hours of sleep in the last 36 hours (even though, to my real shame, I felt asleep at Le Reve by Cirque du Soleil)

It would be too simple to say that Puparo mood did not showed up, nor my gambling luck.

I guess what is really going on is that Vegas is loosing relevance to me and, despite all the glamour and room upgrades I purchased amazingly cheap, this city, Sin City, is not talking to me anymore. 

Of course, they do great conferences in this US city and landscapes and deserts around are calling me constantly, so I might be returning again here someday. But for now, 12 hours after I arrived here, is like I feel I have left Vegas already

Mar 2, 2012

Que reste-t-il, de nos amours?

Casis, 2004

Surprise! Ça serait mon premier poste en français. Même si ce n’est pas que seulement grâce au spectacle d’aujourd’hui soir. Et quel spectacle ! Paris, mon amour, chez le Théâtre National D’ Opérette. J’en suis sur que nos clients et collaborateurs ont été aussi enchantes que Runa, Cami et moi. Mais, au delà de toutes les chansons, danses and moments magiques, j’ai eu une révélation. Que la langue française a joué un rôle essentiale dans ma vie.

Et voilà, pourquoi maintenant, je vais essayer honorer cet rôle. Pour tous mes lecteurs, meilleurs a s’exprimer en français que moi, je vous demande pitié. Ça fait plus de 10 ans depuis quand j’ai n'ai pas écrit un texte en français. J’ai lu pourtant. Quoi ? Peut être les Fleurs du Mal ? Peut être mes collections de douze ans, mois après mois de la revue Géo ? Chasseur d’ Images, Photo ? Je l’ai parle pourtant, le français ? A Disneyland avec mes enfants deux fois, à Paris plusieurs fois, a l’inoubliable Provence ?

Alors, pourquoi mon amour pour cette langue, qu'est ce qu’il fait aussi important ? Et comment fait-il que j’oublie tous ça jusqu'à maintenant ? Peut être parce que :

Dans la deuxième classe j’ai tombe amoureux de la langue française et de la professeure de française aussi ?  Parce que mon père, lui le parlait très bien, et ma mère, amoureuse de Dumas ? Parce que je me souviens aussi bien la chambre en fond chez ma grande mère ou je passais les chaudes vacances d’été en lire les écrivains historique et d’aventure français ?

Ou peut être parce que c’était la langue j’ai parlait quand je suis allé pour la premier fois en étranger après Décembre 1989 (mille neuf cent quatre vingt dix-neuf :)) avec mon oncle en Allemagne et Belgique ? Où peut être parce que je savais le parler aussi bien que j’ai été capable de convaincre la commission Tempus de me donner une bourse en Grenoble même si il n’existait pas dans le programme ?

La langue française : Mon premier service dans la publicité, Mr. Radu Florescu, American cosmopolite, marié avec une française, très fier, m’a teste en français ! Et j’avais été employée avec Loredana  à Saatchi & Saatchi en 1997. Deux persones parmi 200 CV’s. Ma bourse de 6 mois en Frances avec milliers des souvenirs et aventures je n’ose pas à raconter ici. L’incontournable goût du vin de Bandol parfumé a lavande! Les menus au restaurants écrits en minimum 15 mots chacune. Les plus mauvais Nouvel An que j’ai passe seul en voiture autour Trocadéro en cherchant une place pour la voiture pendent que Runa et Cami ont essayer de voir les feu d’artifice au dessus de Tour Effel. Il n’est jamais venu! L’inoubliable présentation nous avons fait, en français, pour le pitch Carrefour chez Zenith Media. Le leçons je fais dans la 5-eme classe avec ma grande fille Runa? Le Rêve avec Cirque du Soleil je vais voir in Vegas in quelques jours? Céline Dion, avec sa chanson J’ai compris tous le mots, coup de foudre en France ? La même Céline Dion live en Vegas avec Cami, quelle voix !?!

Tout est lie a la française. Même sur cet blog, le premier poste s’appel Les Egout de Paris !?! Mais, au dessous des tous les souvenirs, il existe un suprême raison pour lequel je serai toujours amoureux de français. Parce que, in 1997 après un grande chute dans ma vie professionnelle, le simple fait que je le parlerai, m’a apporté un job chez Mesagerie Micul Paris. Et dans ma courte carrière la bas, j’ai connu Camelia, mon épouse. Ma vie a changé depuis et nous sommes arrivé, quinze ans plus tard, ici, aujourd’hui.

Alors, que reste-t-il des nos amours ? Encore d’amour !

Feb 29, 2012

The Killer inside me

@ imdb.com

They say we kill everything we love. Well, maybe them. I do the other way around, I kill everything which is stopping me from loving. Despite my epicurian nature, I always keep my compass in my pocket and eyes open. And every time I see a hurdle which will deviate me from the choices I made in life, I kill it.

So, my friends, make your choices, grab the compass and choose you weapons. Life is so hectic and full of surprises,one needs to stay alert in order to be true to himself.

P.S. The movie has nothing to do with me but Casey Affleck was brilliant in this very  hard-to-digest character.

Feb 23, 2012

Start wearing red

My dressing room, 2012

Everybody knows those stupid interviews questions (sorry to all my HR related friends :)) "Please name your biggest weak points?", "Which is your biggest quality?" Fore some reasons I keep hearing around me about situations in which people are asked or told to answer or prove those things.

And, to my amazing surprise, very very few of them have a straight answer. And is not about being unprepared to an interview or a selection. It's about knowing yourself. Being truthful with yourself regardless if good or bad.

My friends, stop trying to be someone else. Stop trying to impress. Be honest with yourselves. It will bring some much quality, happiness and stability in your life. And courage. And if this will eventually mean that you will get the guts to wear your red shoes, why not?. Do it if it makes you happy.

Feb 21, 2012

Mr. Nothing

Utah, 2010

A simple exercise. Go in front of a mirror and say: "I am ....".  If you said only attributes like: fat, slim, old, beautiful, then try it again.


Now go back again and strip you of your jeweleries. Hide your business cards. Put a bit farther your family photos.

Who are you after all? Are you what you have become? Are you what you have achieved? Are you what you have bought?

Can we be everything? Can we be nothing? Can we ever know?

My dessert is calling me. Like a million particles of dust, everyone of them being something and nothing in the same time. There anybody can be Mr. Nothing.

Feb 9, 2012


X100, Self portrait
Last Xmas I spoiled myself with a fancy, outstandingly good, old fashion new camera. I enjoyed using  it over the winter holiday and then I lost it in Prague. Together with some outstanding pictures taken in the rainy and then sunny Prague. I have left it in the taxi which took me to the airport, tribute to my ever agitated state and, maybe, to the 3 beers I had before with my good friends Florin and Marketa. It was a loss very hard to swallow.

Obviously, after assimilating the frustration of the loss, I took this as an opportunity and look for replacement. Starting to make all kind of analysis about which camera, which systems, what features, budget, where to purchase from and so on. It was all about REPLACEMENT. Or, at least, I thought so. I was just not able to agree with myself on any solution and kept agitating myself to a state of increased entropy for more than 2 weeks.

And somehow, raising above the inner noise, I remembered a thought marked on a corner of my mind by the MIT entrepreneurial skills training course. DESELECT. Good and focused entrepreneurs and managers are able to deselect the amount of things they are tempted to do and try.

Should this be the solution in our private life also? Are you able to Deselect out of the countless things you are doing and focus on the most important? Are you able to stream among the countless thoughts and wishes and impulses and focus on the ones which are feeding your spirit and happiness?

The answer it is obviously a personal one. No universal solution. But I feel I should DESELECT more and REPLACE less.