Pictures and words by Anna Gadalean
Interview by Valentine Dreyfus & Valentina Bravo
Can you describe yourself in a few words?
Curious earthling on her learning journey.
Can you tell us about your art and what was it that sparked this passion?
All those years before photography came into my life, poetry was my way of sublimating and bringing out to the surface all I wanted to communicate to and about the world around me. Poetry, however, always came from a sad place and oppressed feelings and trauma; it was healing, in some sense. I don’t do poetry anymore because I am genuinely happy. And that happiness of mine birthed another way of expression—that is, through photography.
I think this is why I am so drawn to portray people in love—in their ultimate state of happiness, safety, and trust. Trust in each other and in life itself.
I also do get inspired and fueled by my own relationship and story, which feels to me as nothing short of a movie. Maybe that is why I tend to subconsciously bring a cinematographic feeling into the sessions themselves—so that the couples can feel like they are the main characters of a beautiful film.
What is the best lesson you have learned working in your field?
Photography has changed me profoundly on a personal level. I guess the best lesson I’ve learned through it would be understanding the importance of human connection, being a good listener, and being an empathetic human.
Can you tell us more about your residency project at Zunya? What have you learned, shared, and left behind?
My project “Universes We Create” fundamentally consisted in showcasing the connectedness to oneself, nature, and each other through a series of photographs featuring couples and families at Zūnya, their daily routines, or the activities they enjoy.
Each couple has their own little rituals that are special to them & their relationship. Through my work, I tried to tell the unique story of each of them living their dreamlike life in the safe and creative environment that Zūnya offers to everyone who joins its community.
While doing this project, I feel I advanced in the art of connecting even more. All couples and families I photographed were very different from each other and I think I was able to find that magical key to open each of those doors so that people on the other side of my camera feel comfortable, present with each other, and the truest version of themselves.
Who or what are some of your inspirations?
Cinematography, poetry, sounds, 20th-century film photographers, observing life, and many more sources of inspiration. I think it’s never just one thing or one person. I truly believe that all we focus our attention on beautifully intertwines within us and that is how we are able to create something unique and special. Something that is ours.
What personal projects can we look forward to from you next? What are you enjoying exploring at the moment?
I would love to create more photographic projects for Zūnya, exploring wild and human nature simultaneously—I already have a certain idea in mind.
I am currently interested in ceramics and painting as well, so perhaps I would think of a workshop concept combining, say, painting and photography.
Also, I have my own photography retreat that is usually held in the Canary Islands, but I’d love to explore the opportunity of bringing this community to Zūnya as well and thriving creatively together.
What message would you like to share with our readers?
Zūnya is definitely one of those transformational places every human needs to experience in their life. I have taken away so many meaningful lessons and thoughts after my time in Zūnya and confirmed to myself one more time that I am walking the path I need the most right now. My life and consciousness are constantly transforming, and I just see how many like-minded people walk over my doorstep with each revelation I have.
If I were to pick the most important message I’ve learned during my this stay at Zūnya, it is “be open to receive”. When we open our hearts, everything is possible and good things and energy flow naturally.
If you want to share something more or different feel free!
Thank you Zūnya and its team for making my experience one of a kind and memorable. I will be back soon. :)