Birds in Space by Alina Negoita
Text by Pirita Litmanen, REVS digital #5
Alina Negoita is a creative born in Romania, currently living in London. In her documentary styled photography and film work, she touches subjects that are not only skillfully chosen and brought together, but as beautifully portrayed. Her images are real, but when we look at them, our imagination starts instantly playing movies and stories in our heads.
Her project Birds in Space, illustrating female gymnastics, is drawing inspiration from Constantin Branscusi’s philosophy and sculpture art featuring birds. Brancusi, who has born in Romania, was considered a pioneer of Modernism and praised for revolutionizing the art scene during his life in the 20th century Paris. He was known for his abstract sculptures, which he himself, saw as reality and a presentation of the true spirit and nature of his subjects.
You are originally from Romania. How does your background show in your work as a creative?
It is a chaotic, vulnerable, authentic, intense space. My interpretation was always the atmosphere of it all; the light, the depth of the time, the connections I made with the subjects. All these are often reminiscences in my work nowadays.
When I was younger I used to think that if I was from a more developed country, chances would have been greater – I was so naive not to appreciate and see the journey.
This epiphany came after I moved to London – all the obstacles are just steps forward. Now I know that all you need is a dream and the courage to make it happen.
If thinking of your background, what are the most important things, events & memories shaping you as a creative today?
By far, the decision I made as a kid to follow my dreams. At 16 I got my first camera and the joy I was experiencing when creating and documenting was infinite; it kept me interested every single day afterwards.
Soon after, I took my first photography class at the School of the Arts in my hometown where I met my art mentor, Mihai Vasile – there was never a moment when he did not believe in me, and I will always be grateful for the knowledge and support he has given me during all these years.
Another event that had a strong impact on me, was when I had my first exhibition. It was only some photographs showcased in a local library but it meant the world to me.
What makes Brâncusi’s work and philosophy so important and personal for you?
He speaks of the truth, and I consider that to be the essence of all things and the epitome of art. I am a fond admirer of his thoughts and work. One of the reasons I chose to develop my project in this manner is because I was able to connect with his life story on a very personal level – the circumstances, obstacles, dreams and the whole journey. He is one of my idols.
How do you decide on the subjects of your photo series?
I am only interested in what has depth, be it the person or the theme I am exploring. Inspiration comes as a mixture from the most unexpected places – conversations, music, meditation, life in general – in the end, for me it works best when I just follow my intuition and instincts.
What brought you to work with gymnastics?
It was a time when I was looking for discipline in my life and work, in order to achieve my goals. Gymnastics has that. Most people do not know what is behind a perfect skill, and I was not able to fully understand until I went back home and witnessed them during the trainings. Gymnastics takes so much time, commitment, strength, focus and mental toughness – even at semi-pro level one needs all of this, let alone the elite and Olympics. All these qualities inspire me.
Can you tell us more about the connection you find between Brâncusi’s sculptures and gymnastics?
I have associated Brancusi’s idea of flight with the delicacy and movement of our Romanian gymnasts, paying in the same time credits to the legendary Nadia Comaneci, a symbol of grace in this sport. With the starting point of this being a homage to Brancusi, I aimed to develop the project in a thoughtful way, involving elements such as identity, symbolism, philosophy, the feeling of being in between cultures. The series is about the persona or identity filling the space and is an attempt to make an image, a sculpture and a performance, at the same time.Inspired by movement, discipline, essence and human form, whilst exhibiting the friction between fragility and strength.
How did you find your models for the project?
Facebook casting – I’m basically in all possible gymnastics groups that exist out there and that’s how I’ve found Anca, a world champion in gymnastics.
What was the most important thing you treasure or “take with you” from this project?
What I’ve seen during the trainings while I was doing my tests before the final shoot.
In Ploiesti, the place where I am originally from, is a bunch of little girls trained by two great coaches, who are truly doing incredible things. They barely have the facilities needed to make it big as gymnasts – small town, little investments in sports, no financial resources, no proper gym for training etc; but, despite everything, some of them are already in the elite team of gymnastics of Romania. I could only explain their big dreams and achievements through the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who said it beautifully: ‘’And as the desert offers no tangible riches, as there is nothing to see or hear in the desert, that man is first animated by invisible solicitations.
Director, Scriptwriter & Producer – alina negoita • Stylist – cosmin florea
Make-Up & Hair – diana ionescu • Cinematographer – anda puscas
Model – marta marghidanu @mra models, anca surdu
Original Soundtrack – mohra
Production Assistants – ioana mischie • Cinematographer 1st Assistant – alex matios
Make-Up & Hair Assistant – irina cajvaneanu
special thanks to dinamo club, gabriel stroe,
ioana mischie, sorin baican,
alexandra ionescu, stefan sandulache,
ionut moraru, simona amanar,
liliana baiescu, mirela dulgheru,
itai doron, zoe hitchen,
neil drabble, matthew holroyd.