Cătălin Munteanu – Flat London
”Erstwhile every land was a clear land.
The humans came, they start to build, and occasionally their constructions are amazing. They manage to change the face of the Earth by changing the shape of raw materials. Great cities appeared and some of them endured the force of history and time. In their continuous development both cities and humans changed, they transformed one another equally. Humans do not own, as they think they do the buildings they erect; they only command the constructors of the building to make the concrete, to arrange the bricks, the windows. The structure does not accept orders, only the people in it nor around it do, the buildings force the humans to obey their shape. A concrete wall acts as a barrier – we are required to bypass its intimidating structure, the building stands its ground, presenting an incomprehensible obstruction. Trying to change the natural materials is more of an inner struggle, the building being the constructor’s Goliath.
From time to time, the humans impose their will over buildings and change their original purpose, making alterations, the building serving other objectives set by different or additional occupants. The sum of money put on the building rises or falls as does the number of the inhabitants inside it. Some buildings are full during the day and empty at nighttime, others do the opposite, putting the people in motion, waking them, and troubling their sleep.
Capturing the face of London is a matter of infinite choices, even if only buildings are in question. The depopulation of these crowded spaces seems almost unreal and impossible. Isolating the structures without seeing the sky or the ground was the only choice available to show these bulky edifices and presenting them as they are. Located in Central London, these buildings look repeatable and distinct, unacknowledged and familiar.
“Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.” (Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust – A History of Walking)
The buildings of London are straight, tall, and powerful, imposing their authority over the city. Society does not own the buildings, the structure owns the people, and only the inevitable consequences of time will subdue the raw material, no matter of its shape or form. Erstwhile every land was a clear land.” – Cătălin Munteanu, London, 2014.
”The light fascinates our eyes since the moment we are born, giving us the reasons to recreate in different forms of art our thoughts, dreams and everything that surrounds us. Drawing with light is my passion and even though I started to make pictures during my late adolescence, I’ve been capturing images on my retina from the very beginning.
Observing the light more and more, I was naturally captivated by photography and since 2007 I worked as a picture-maker in my home country, Romania, being commissioned by magazines, firms and individuals, mostly doing portraits, commercial work and travel photography. I had individual and group exhibitions and I was also invited to participate in different photo festivals. My work was nominated, commended and internationally rewarded.
In the same time I continued my work within “Escamonde”, an NGO I founded with three friends back in 2005. We are focusing the NGO activity on art, tourism and environmental activities, such as mountaineering guided tours, climbing, photography workshops, charity etc. One of our latest projects is the International Photo Festival “Secvențe/Sequences“.
In September 2012 I started my BA in documentary photography at the University of Wales, Newport, with the purpose of extending my knowledge and developing my aptitudes even more, in order to produce better work. I can say that I am moving more and more from travel photography to the more in depth one, documentary photography.
Even sometimes I want to capture the entire picture in my photographs; I think that the greatest stories are told with the help of short tales. I believe that the world is a wonderful place, with room for everyone and everything and that we always have to stand up for our rights and believes. Freedom shouldn’t be only a state of mind.”
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