This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame

Feb 14, 2024

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame

Feb 14, 2024

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame

Selaru Ovidiu is an award-winning Romanian photographer based in the UK. Although his genre is primarily street photography, don’t be fooled into thinking that his images are just happy accidents.

Gazing upon his photographs immediately transports the viewer to the noisy, smoggy chaos of this uniquely wonderful city. From relentless driving rain to the daily commute on the Tube, his photographs somehow manage to combine the poetry of bygone days with the up-to-the-minute architecture and technology of a thriving 21st-century city.

This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame

DIYP: Can you tell us a little bit about you, your photography, and how you got started?

Selaru: Coming from a family where painting and music were part of the daily menu, I was always guided toward art by my father. However, being quite young at that time, I had no inclination toward this kind of activity, as racing pigeons and activities with them were more important to me back then.

After several years, I had the opportunity to move to London, where I met a man named Dan, a photography enthusiast with a professional camera. He bombarded me daily with stories about the photos he took on vacations and how clear they were. These stories sparked something in me, and I told Dan that I also wanted a camera to try my hand at photography.

Discouraged several times, being told that it was difficult and costly, I was determined and took the step to buy a small camera from a store selling antique items. I remember coming home holding the camera, pretending to take photos and dreaming of the wonderful pictures I would create, the big lenses I would attach to the camera, and the colourful straps I would wear around my neck.

The first steps were simple, starting with ducks in the park, the flowers in front of the house, and the people passing by on the street—simple things that any enthusiastic beginner photographs at the beginning.

Then came the more challenging phase, where I began to study different photographers, buy books, and read the biographies of famous photographers like Ansel Adams and Steve McCurry. I discovered camera models, editing techniques, composition techniques, and everything related to photography in general.

This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame tube stairs

I photographed almost all genres, including weddings, but I had a special love for street photography and the connection I had with it, the atmosphere, and the mood that the street personally inspired in me.

One day, I made the decision to give up other genres of photography (including wedding photography) and focus exclusively on photographing the street the way I saw it. After this decision, I started to study street photography more and sharpen my instinct as a hunter of light and moments happening around me.

I dreamed of capturing photos as impressive as those I had seen in major magazines, capturing decisive moments as I had read in the book by the great Bresson, but I was aware of the hard work that awaited me and the kilometres I had to travel on this journey.

This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame tube

DIYP: What do you enjoy most about street photography?

Selaru: Good question! Street photography has captivated me from the beginning with its authenticity and unpredictability. I enjoy capturing life in motion, immortalizing fleeting moments, and exploring human interactions in the urban environment.

Every city has its unique story and atmosphere, and I strive to capture them through my lens. In search of models and techniques to inspire me, I studied the works of great street photographers. Robert Frank fascinated me with his ability to convey deep emotions and authenticity in images. Fan Ho inspired me with his complex compositions and play of light and shadow. Brassai revealed to me the beauty of the night and the mysterious atmosphere of the city, while Saul Leiter taught me to see beauty in details and colours.

This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame snow

I’ve learned a lot from these biographies, but I understand that street photography is more than techniques and equipment. It’s about being present at the right moment and observing beauty in seemingly ordinary details. It’s about creating harmonious compositions and capturing authentic expressions of people.

Over time, I experimented with different cameras and lenses, but I learned that the equipment doesn’t make the photographer; it’s the passion and vision. I learned to adapt to any conditions and see artistic potential in any frame.

Street photography has become more than just a passion for me; it’s an integral part of my life. I’m glad I had the courage to follow my passion and dedicate myself to this photographic genre. Every day, I set out to capture as many authentic moments as possible and explore the city where I live. Each photograph tells its own story, and I like to believe that through images, I can convey emotions and messages to those who view them.

This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame turn

DIYP: Can you describe how you work on a typical day? What is your process? Do you usually have a scene in mind before you begin?

Selaru: For me, photography is not just about capturing a beautiful image; it’s more about creating a story and conveying emotion through images. That’s why composition is an essential element in my shooting process. I love playing with different angles, lines, and shapes to achieve an interesting and balanced composition.

Light also plays a crucial role in my photography. I try to take advantage of natural light, whether it’s the sunlight during the day, the warm light of sunset or artificial light I find at night. Light can create the right atmosphere and add depth and texture to my images, and sometimes, I even wait for hours to capture the perfect light for a particular scene.

Selaru Ovidiu London wedding

Regarding the subject, I enjoy capturing the authenticity of the moment and the naturalness of people, trying to connect with my subject and understand their movements and reactions to capture that specific moment I need in my photography.

Keep in mind that I never shoot in burst mode. Certainly, there is no magic recipe for successful photos in every situation. Each scene is unique and requires heightened attention. However, I believe in my ability to see and capitalize on a scene in just a few seconds. Sometimes, it can be challenging to find the perfect composition in a particular light, but that is an aspect of the learning and continuous development process of a photographer.

Selaru Ovidiu London fog

DIYP: What do you consider to be the most important aspect of street photography? How does that show up in your images?

Selaru: Street photography comes from within the photographer and is an extension of their experiences and senses. Each photographer is unique in how they perceive a moment and in the way they convey it to the viewer.

I see many young photographers starting to embrace street photography, and this delights me greatly as this genre is growing and attracting more and more enthusiasts. This type of photography offers an authentic perspective on everyday life, capturing fleeting moments and emotions. Through the documentation and sharing of these street photographs, we can better understand the diversity and complexity of humanity.

Selaru Ovidiu London lines

DIYP: What equipment do you use, and what could you not do without when you are shooting?

Selaru: Street photography is a genre that requires adaptability and quickness in capturing moments. The focal length you choose can significantly influence the final outcome of your images. Personally, I have chosen to use a 28mm lens for street photography and have remained faithful to this choice for almost ten years.

The reason I opted for a 28mm lens is that it provides a wide field of view, allowing me to include more in the scene and capture additional details. It helps me get close to the subject and create authentic and lively images. Additionally, it aids in better integration with the surrounding environment, resulting in natural and spontaneous images.

However, I cannot recommend a specific focal length for street photography, as each photographer’s preferences and styles are different. Some street photographers prefer lenses with longer focal lengths, such as 50mm, 85mm, or even 70-200mm, as they allow shooting from a distance and obtaining more detailed images.

Selaru Ovidiu London escalators

DIYP: What would your number one piece of advice be for photographers wanting to improve their street photography?

Selaru: My recommendation for those experimenting with street photography is to try shooting with a single fixed lens for a period. This will help them become familiar with the lens, learn how to use it in various compositions and situations, and understand its performance in different lighting conditions.

Through this experience, they can make an informed decision about the focal length that will be their companion on the street photography journey.

In conclusion, the choice of lenses for street photography is a personal aspect, depending on the preferences and style of each photographer. Each focal length has its advantages and disadvantages, and experimenting with different lenses can help photographers find the most suitable one and develop their own photographic style.

You can see more of Selaru’s images on his website, or follow him on Instagram.

Featured Photographer of the Week (or FPOTW for short) is where we share amazing talent with our community. If you know of anyone who’d be happy to be a part of our ‘Featured Photographer of the Week Series’, please contact us here.

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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One response to “This photographer captures the essence of London in a single frame”

  1. John Beatty Avatar
    John Beatty

    Well done sir, well done.