In a world that most of the time looks in shades of gray, its colored parts should be appreciated. In today’s article we invite you to see the world and its colors through Ionut Caras’s perspective. We will unveil through a Windows 7 theme some of Ionut’s best photographic manipulations, which will amaze you through their color tones and the way ideas and feelings are expressed.
Introducing Ionut Caras
We were charmed by the works of a Romanian photographer, one for whom editing doesn’t stop at simple image tweaks. His name is Ionut Caras. He began by expressing his creativity with programs like CorelDraw and Adobe Photoshop. Then, Ionut discovered photography and that combining the two will result into a new way of expressing himself, his ideas and concepts. Although Ionut is a self-taught artist, he admits the importance of a photography school, as long as you are able to keep your own identity. Because we wanted to know more about the person behind the computer and the camera, we asked Ionut a few questions.
How did you decide to focus on digital manipulation?
First, I fell in love with photography, but I also had a passion for graphic design. I started in 2000 with simple stuff, in all sorts of programs. Then, I discovered CorelDraw and Adobe Flash 4, and I used them to create animations. With time and lots of experimentation, I managed to create some small cartoons that even now amuse me. But I also continued loving photography. I managed to create many photos but, after posting them online, I noticed they were not so appreciated and I decided I had to change something. Since, at the time, I did not have much in terms of equipment and resources, I decided to switch to digital collages. Even though I had some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, I had no idea about how to create great collages. I started browsing the web for all sorts of works of art and started creating mostly by imitating what I liked. This meant that, at the beginning, I worked a lot with materials from other artists. After a less pleasant experience, I stopped using what I did not own. Now I use my own original work and I mostly create digital collages.
Do your manipulations include photographic works of others? If yes, how do you handle issues that might come up with permission, copyright, etc?
I used to create some of my digital collages using other artists’ materials as well but then I stopped. For some I asked the author’s permission, while for others I did not. However, the works that include materials for which I don’t have permission, I do not plan to use publicly and simply keep them as experiments of my own. I will later redo them using photos and other elements that I will create on my own. So far I created 180 digital collages using only materials and photographs I own and I want to keep my collection growing.
What is the driving force behind your ideas and how do you come up with them?
Sometimes I go "hunting" for interesting pictures, landscapes, scenes, etc. I take photos of anything that has the potential to be a good basis for creating interesting digital manipulations. Other times I have a specific idea in mind and I search for the materials and scenes I need capture in order to create it. Another good source of inspiration consists of my ever growing collection of personal photography. A few months ago I decided to create at least one digital collage every 24 hours, regardless of how great or bad it is. I find it important to create on a regular basis and I consider it helps me improve.
What has the biggest influence in the work you do?
The biggest influence on how I create digital manipulations are the photos I start with. They make me imagine other dimensions I transpose them to. Even if I start with imperfect shots, I know that once they get downloaded onto my computer, I can transform them into completely different worlds.
Your portfolio includes both portraits and landscapes. Which do you like most and why?
My personal photo gallery has over 150.000 images. I love all of them. Some for their degree of difficulty, some for their very existence, some for their feeling, etc. I can’t choose one type of photography. I love beautiful shots and I know I don’t have that many. That’s why I love digital manipulation. It’s like a woman wearing makeup to perfect her image. I use digital manipulation to perfect my images and transform them into greater works.
How long does it take to create the final version of a digital collage? What is the process involved?
It depends on many factors. I created works which took more than 14 hours of work, others which took a few days. I have a few which I started a year ago and I still did not finish them due to not being inspired enough or lacking small pieces of the final puzzle I still need to create. It depends on how many pieces of work I need, how easy it is to cut them and place them together in the right way, etc. I use only photographs for my digital manipulations and I play with exposure, light, tone, distortion, warp and other digital manipulation tools.
What do you hope to achieve with your work?
I hope to become a well known digital artist and be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the artist with the biggest number of original digital collages. If I continue at the current pace of work, I should be able to pull it off in a few years, once I will own more than 2000 works. I have many ideas for future works but I need to spend a lot of time on them, create the required materials, make the digital editing, etc.
What equipment and editing programs do you use?
I have a Nikon D90 and two lenses: 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and 2. 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Nikkor. Most times I use the 18-105mm lens, when I go out, in my quest for good and varied shorts. On my computer I use a 64-bit version of Windows 7. It is fast and works well with Adobe Photoshop CS5. For some of my work I also use Adobe Illustrator and Flash.
Are you a Mac or a PC?
I am a PC user but I dream of owning a Mac. Until I can afford investing in one, I am happy with my PC and the tools I currently use. They allow me to experiment, learn and grow as a digital artist.
Enjoy Ionut Caras’s Work Through a Windows 7 Theme
Ionut shared with us some of his favourite conceptual photos, based on which we created this awesome Windows 7 theme.
You can download the theme from here.
COPYRIGHT: Ionut Caras. If you plan to use the pictures included in this theme for something else than your desktop backgrounds, you need written permission from their author.
Follow Ionut’s Work
Last but not least, we would like to thank to Ionut Caras, for working with us at putting together a Windows 7 theme and this article.