Artist Spotlight Interview: Andrei Cosma of PhotoCosma/PhotoDesign

My friend and writer Matthew John Benecke has published an interview with me on TheStayAtHomeScholar.com this year. It promotes my usual images but also the newly made PhotoCoverDesign.com website and service. I figured it is the perfect piece to have on my blog, as I haven’t written here in a long time. You can see the original interview here. Big thanks to Matthew for the interview!

“I first encountered Andrei’s incredible photography back in 2017 when I was designing the cover for my third novel, The Metamorphoses. I had signed up for an account with CreativeMarket.com, and, as part of a promotional free package of images, I spotted one similar to the photo featured above. I was stunned: not only was it exactly the style that I was looking for, I couldn’t get over how hauntingly beautiful it was.

I made contact with the photographer, purchased a photo for use with my book, and came away with a new favorite artist and a new friend as well. I refer to Andrei as an artist because his photographic skills go far beyond merely snapping still shots; instead, he manages to create entire worlds that blend the ordinary with the otherworldly–realms of shadow and light where terrifying uncertainty and awed curiosity are born in equal measures.

I asked him where he conducted his photo shoots, and his response brought an instant smile to my face. After all, it’s not every day that an American horror writer and a Transylvanian photographer come into contact! (And, really, is there any more classic location for fans of dark fiction than Transylvania!?)

Aside from continuing to produce his incomparable photography with his brother, Andrei has begun a book cover and promotional materials business. To help spread the word about his work and the new services he is offering, I conducted an interview with him that you can find below:

So Andrei, where are you from?

I’m from Zalau–a small town in Transylvania, Romania

How long have you been involved in photography/graphic design?

I’ve been a photographer since 2008.

Wow–that’s more than a decade in the industry! What made you want to pick up a camera/begin designing?

I’ve always liked visual things like drawing, painting and comics. When I was a little kid, I loved the way it stopped time–capturing something that otherwise would be lost forever. I’ve been involved with photography since I was about 10 years old, but since 2008 I’ve actively tried learning more about the field, and getting a strong knowledge foundation.

Who or what are your biggest photographic inspirations?

Starting out as a nature/landscape photographer, my biggest inspiration is Ansel Adams.

I love Ansel Adams’s work! He’s definitely one of my favorites, as well. What do you like the most about his photographs?

I like the way he basically simplified landscapes, almost making them abstract in some cases. And his edits are the best – the contrasts, light and shadow in his photos are amazing. I think shooting his photos in black and white helped, but that’s what I like about his images: they are so good, they look surreal.

I completely agree. Do you have any other influences or inspirations?

Other photographers that I really love are Robert Capa and Francesca Woodman. There are more, but I think those three cover all of the picturesque beauty/photojournalism/moody atmospheric photography that I enjoy.

What do you look for when you’re creating an image/how important is the original image versus what’s done in post editing?

I want to get a good photo out of the camera to begin with, but I am not afraid to edit my images. The camera, the computer–they are all just tools in achieving my vision.

I feel the same way. I strive always to keep my images authentic, but sometimes what I see when I take the photo in my mind isn’t what appears on the memory card!

Editing is an important part of the process. I think sometimes photos have to be helped to reach their true potential. The camera isn’t yet capable of capturing the true beauty like we see it, so we have to help it a bit in post processing.

What do you enjoy about photography/graphic design?

What I enjoy most about photography/graphic design is that I can create feelings, emotions with my images, create worlds for the viewer.

Speaking of creating worlds–Romania seems like an incredible, almost fantasy-like place for photography. What’s it like shooting there?

Romania still has some great landscapes, but I have to say that the wild and beautiful parts of Romania are getting smaller and smaller with each passing day. The reasons for this are multiple–and a lot of the times have to do with stupidity and corruption–so this leads to a lot of interesting photo tours.

A lot of times, it’s an adventure just getting to the place I want to photograph, or getting the photos and getting back home in one piece. But when everything is well, and all the pieces fall into place, I can get some interesting results.

Transylvania is often typecast as the focal point of horror, at least in American popular culture. Do you find any similarities between the stereotypes of the region and what you actually experience there? (In other words–does the setting help to influence the photos?)

Transylvania really has some interesting places to photograph, especially if the atmospheric conditions are right. I can see where the authors (book and film) have got their inspiration. Some of the stereotypes really do work–like walking through a cold, damp, autumn forest in the evening. Your imagination starts to act up on you, and you can almost see the fantasy creatures lurking in the shadows.

What are your interests beyond photography? Do you think that they influence your creativity?

Music influences my work the most, I think. A lot of the times when I am out photographing, or when I am sorting and editing the photos, I have certain songs in my mind, and this helps me create those atmospheric images.

Books and movies also have a big influence on me. The most important book authors would be H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, J. R. R. Tolkien. Of course there are more, but I think these three have all the pieces needed for my imagination to work: strange, surreal, paranormal and fantasy worlds.

As for movies, I am a big fan of Stanley Kurbick and Alfred Hitchcock.

Those are all excellent choices–masters of their crafts, for sure! So where can folks find your photography?

You can find my photography on http://www.photocosma.net. I have images for sale on Stocksy.com, and I’m also present on social media. All the links are on the website.

On the topic of websites, you just launched a book design service, right? What do you offer there?

Yes, besides photography, there’s also a new service: book covers and album covers design. You can find more about those on: http://www.photocoverdesign.com

There, you can get your custom eBook cover, full book cover, or social media promotion kit. Here is a sample of some of my work:

Sample cover artwork from:
http://www.photocoverdesign.com

Thank you to Andrei for a great interview! If you’re a writer looking for an eye-catching, high quality book cover or promotional materials, please consider checking out PhotoCoverDesign.com! Also, be sure to give Andrei a follow or a like on his social media channels!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhotoCosma/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/photocosma

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/photocosma/

Stocksy Top 5 of the Month – October 2018

Rusty Autumn Mountain At Sunset

rusty_autumn_mountain_landscape
Rusty Autumn Mountain At Sunset

Night Apparition

surreal_night_sphere
Night Apparition

Mysterious Forest Lake Reflection

haunted_forest_lake
Mysterious Forest Lake Reflection

Flies On White Background

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Flies On White Background

Dark Autumn Forest Background

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Dark Autumn Forest Background

10 years of PhotoCosma

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Journey through the unknown

Exactly 10 years ago, on 10 August 2008 me and my brother started a journey. This journey would become one of the most important part of our lives, it would take us through places we never thought we would see and feel. Not long after we started it, we went to the more mysterious and atmospheric side of photography, seeking a particular feeling that unifies our work. That’s the path that we are still on today and I can’t believe just how far it has taken us. It became the main way of expressing ourselves and to create surreal mysterious worlds. I’m really proud of everything we have accomplished!

To celebrate 10 years, our website has a special new look that makes is easier to browse through the collection of images we’ve made over the years, and a lot more content and updates are coming soon!

Thank you to all that have supported us through the first 10 years of PhotoCosma!

www.PhotoCosma.net

New photos on 1x.com

A while ago I wrote that we’re back on 1x.com. Last week 2 photos got accepted and are now part of the published 1x collection. They are both part of a new series called “Visions” that has been a work in progress for some time. The series are mainly surreal  ethereal dark fine art images (even more than our regular ones). There has been a few images that are going in that direction lately and getting two images from the series accepted on 1x is a great way of starting it:

surreal_dark_forest_scene_with_black_hole
Critical Mass

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Personal Singularity

 

Stocksy Top 5 of the Month – June 2018

It seems that the top for last month has taken a turn for the dark. There were a lot of great new additions to the Stocksy collection in June but these seem the most interesting because they go hand in hand and they all share this dreamy dark surreal esthetique. It’s almost a mini series of surreal imagery. The only image that is a bit merrier is the one with the winding road going through the enchanted forest, but it too is full of mystery. Here is my Stocksy Top 5 for June 2018:

Dark man silhouette

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Dark man silhouette

Abstract fire texture background

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Abstract fire texture background

Dark angel concept

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Dark angel concept

Winding forest autumn road

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Winding forest autumn road

Dark surreal ghost

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Dark surreal ghost

Stocksy Top 5 of the Month – May 2018

I was away for some time and realized that the month is almost over and I haven’t posted the last month’s Stocksy top 5. Even though it’s really late this month, I had to do it as it has some great images. Either one of this images would also look great as a print:

Breathtaking view

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Breathtaking view

Dreamy night

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Dreamy night

Dark silent mountain landscape

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Dark silent mountain landscape

Night search

night_lantern
Night search

Predator and prey

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Predator and prey

Stocksy Top 5 of the Month – April 2018

I’m back with another Stocksy United Top 5 of the Month – the April edition. This time it’s about mysterious dark lakes in the forest, spring pastures with trees in bloom, gorgeous autumn mountain sunsets, creepy crawlers and night photos of river under the stars. I’ve also had some photos added to the curated feed lately, more that in the past. It’s great that Stocksy is finally expanding its vision into promoting dark, ethereal, mysterious images. Here is my Top 5 for April 2018:

Mysterious dark autumn forest lake

dark_mysterious_lake_in_haunted_forest
Mysterious dark autumn forest lake

Spring fairy tale

spring_fantasy__fairytale_tree_in_bloom
Spring fairy tale

Late autumn sunset with cabin

autumn_mountain_landscape_cabin
Late autumn sunset with cabin

Creepy crawler

creepy_monster
Creepy crawler

River and mountain under the stars

night_landscape_river_under_stars
River and mountain under the stars

PhotoCosma is back on 1x.com

mysterious_forest_on_1x.com_by_photocosma
Out of This World – from 1x.com

I’ve been an active member of One Exposure (1x.com) from 2008 and until sometime in 2012. In that time I’ve learned a lot, got frustrated a lot, saw a lot of great images, met some great people, grew up as a photographer, established my own style and when I became skilled and confident enough to know which photos of mine are good and which ones aren’t I noticed that the curation process doesn’t always work so good.

1x.com is a curated photography gallery so the level is usually higher than on any other online galleries that I saw. Only a small percentage of the photos (some say 3%, others say 5%) get accepted to be part of the gallery. That’s both good and bad. The gallery looks great and a lot of the photos they accept are extraordinary, but curation takes a great deal of subjectivism and the curators will favor and accept a certain style and category of photos. There are a lot of photos that should be accepted and aren’t, just like there are some photos that maybe shouldn’t be accepted – so the curation process is not perfect and it get’s frustrating and unfair a lot of the times.

That being said, it’s still one of the best photography galleries on the internet and the majority of time I’m glad of being a part of it. I have 17 photos that are accepted and curated on 1x.com and a total of 25 photos in my portfolio. I’m expecting these numbers to increase. I have also made my photos on 1x available as high quality fine art prints.

I’m confident that this will again be a great experience and that my images will find their place once again in one of the most interesting online galleries. I’ll let you know how this goes 😉

3 photos curated by Stocksy

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Glad that Stocksy United liked my last batch of photos and even added 3 of them to the curated feed. All full of mysterious surreal vibes, so that makes me even more happy!

The fist one is Mysterious dark autumn forest lake, the second one Centipede insect close-up and the third one is Sunset river

Great to see something a bit different from the usual getting a bit of the spotlight 😉

 

Winter Dusk

Man walking in winter at dusk
Winter Dusk

This winter wasn’t particularly rich in snow or very cold for that matter. There were a few photo opportunities but with snow only lasting a couple of days at a time, we had to plan everything really well. It was also the case with our last trip, one close to home but higher in altitude. The day before it was raining heavily and we kept watching the forecast as well as the weather outside. At night the rain turned to a heavy snow storm. By morning everything was covered with a thick layer of snow. The roads were bad but we managed to get up in the forest mountain not far from home, now covered in snow and fog.

The higher we went, the thicker the fog became. We kept going through the fog and it started snowing again. The blizzard had knocked down a lot of giant old trees and there was a strange sense of danger lurking through the snow covered forest. Later into the day we reached a clearing near the top of the mountain just as light began to fall and everything was turning blue. The gentle hum of the wind in the trees was the only sound we could hear and the atmosphere was really heavy. No human in sight other than us, no man-made sound, everything seemed so far away and muted. It was almost like we were hearing some sort of white noise. Lonely trees with strange shapes grew out of the snow like antennas to the sky getting lost in the fog. Everything was overwhelming. Got as many images as we could before the light started to fall. When out photographing it is easy to get lost in time, but as the night drew closer we had to get back on lower grounds and back into this world.

For the next couple of days after something surreal and intense like this, everything seems to be at a lower volume and running at a slower speed for me. Maybe this is the consequence of visiting another world. I hope the gate opens again soon.