In 2004, when his son was born, Remus Tiplea (46 years old) “played” with his phone, an old Nokia model, taking pictures of his beloved boy. 15 years later, with hard work and a lot of soul, he simply transformed his passion into art. His pictures, taken in Oas Country, an idyllic land in northern Romania, got in Huffington Post, The Guardian and on the cover of National Geographic.
Before reading his story, I think anyone should see his pictures. Because the emotion it’s not only in his heart, when he does what he loves most, the biggest feeling is there, in his tremendous pictures. People are surprised in their purest, deepest emotions, you almost feel their inner state, it’s like looking through those pictures deep down into their souls. Simply amazing.
Remus was not a professional photographer. Even now, after hard, good work in this field, he says this keeps being a hobby for him, he can’t say he can earn his living by taking pictures. He graduated in economics and has a regular job. After work, he takes his camera and starts writing the story.
Story that began in 2004, the year when his son was born. With him, he took his first pictures. “I was “playing” with an old Nokia Phone”, he remembers, laughing. The first camera was kind of a bigger “toy”, nothing professional. He showed first pictures to someone, and he was advised to put some of them on a website for beginner photographers. He remembers his first picture put on such a website – an image with a frog. “I did’t even know, back then, how to log in to a website, how to work a black and white photography”, he says.
The website was a very good exercise. Contests were organized there, his first picture went straight to top 7, and then reached to a point where his images were on the first 3 positions. Then he discovered a very good Romanian website and this has been extremely helpful. “There I have learnt the serious photography. We were walking at first after flowers and sunrises, there whole new horizons opened, thanks to the editors from that website I transformed myself”, he says. A very good photography school followed, and then hard work, time and very much of his soul.
If you are searching for his pictures, you will find whole stories said in images. Because Remus does documentary photo and follows a theme even in years. He is still working at his first big project, with the shepherds from Oas Country. And he is very thankful to Mos Totu, and old shepherd who has been very opened with him and very helpful. With him opening his heart, trusting the man behind the camera, it became easier to take pictures directly with a person’s face.
Another big project follows the six religious confessions in the area. “I’ve followed common habits, the baptisms, weddings, funerals, I did not make a theological study, what I tried was to identify which are the common values, things that connect, not divide”, he says. His first photo session in this project was at a reunion of Jehova’s Witnesses where approximately 8.000 people gathered, then he kept on taking pictures at different events. He also tried to take pictures from places where you usually don’t do this – behind the altars or in sacristies, for instance – all these so that the story in images to be as well documented as possible.
But certainly his most famous project was “The bulbous”, a story that got into magazines all over the world. For years, he followed the insects from his garden and caught them in macro photos, in a way that simply fascinates you. At a first glance you are under the impression that it’s unreal, probably worked in special programs – but they are more than real and extremely expressive. “I’ve learnt the technical part of photography doing macro, the big advantage is that in a square you can find up to 100 subjects. They seem like having human traits”, he says.
“The bulbous” got to Huffington Post, The Guardian and on the cover of National Geographic. The last one also had other two covers made with Remus Tiplea’s photos.
A very famous project was also “Ciurdarii”, an approximate equivalent of the english “cowboy”, the person who takes care of the cows. He spent an year with a family who did that, in the middle of the field, taking care of the cows of a whole community. The project reached the final at Sony World Photography Awards, the most famous photography contest in the world.
The emotions and the soul
In a world full of pictures taken with mobile phones and spread all over the social media, to keep alive your dream of making documentary photography might sound a litle bit crazy. But it’s not. It’s a huge passion, time, work and the satisfaction that you made something that will become more and more valuable in time. “It’s a very big challenge this kind of photography. You have to spend a lot of time with your subjects, until they learn to trust you and give all their inhibitions away, and you can photo their deep feelings. You need time and patience”, he says.
And it’s something more about this kind of photo. Doing this, Remus has defeated all his fears, simply took pictures without thinking about anything else. “Till I started taking pictures I was afraid of dark, of death, of high”, he says, and then remembers how he photographed during the night, in cemeteries, on the highest tower of a church.
And he remembers something else. How he cries with the others at funerals. Or how he felt when he was in a pentecostal church and the priest, while telling the preach, stood up with some of his pictures in his hands, shown them to the whole community and asked them to pray for the photographer. And many more.
The definition of happiness is simple. Begins with his family, his son, when he succeeds in doing something is happy and proud. And in those moments he’s trying to hide the happiness tears in his eyes. Then comes the satisfaction when photographic projects are successful. “You know, many times I even dream during the night what I would like to do, and the next day I look forward finishing my job and just go after and take pictures”, he says. And, of course, is happy when good friends and special people come to visit their photography workshop.
PHOTOS BY REMUS TIPLEA/PERSONAL ARCHIVE
Do you know a very special person? Someone who has followed his dream, built it piece by piece, with passion, energy and lot of soul? An usual, simple person who did something in life, who you can identify with, who can be, for others, a source of inspiration? Tell me about that person and let’s tell the others his/her beautiful story. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.