In March 2011 I had the chance to spend some time in Manhattan. Coming for the first time from Romania to the United States was a special experience for me as I have never visited any country outside Europe. Everything seemed the same, but very unfamiliar somehow. Many little differences, some of them almost invisible to the eye made me feel as a foreigner, a stranger like nowhere else before.
I was so curious what kind of people I would meet on the streets of Manhattan, how I would relate to them. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by the noise of that place, the almost aggressive geometry of the streets. But as I got used to looking beyond these disruptive elements, I managed to see the people and finally I felt at home with my camera.
Whenever I go to a place I haven't been before I never make a plan of what or how I will photograph. I try to be open to whatever lights up an interest in me. And it is usually a combination of the themes that are usually dearest to me with the specific 'taste' of the place I am in. I enjoy very much creating certain types of relationships with the people I photograph. In this case, I think that that strong self-identification as a stranger caused a voyeuristic type of approach, most of the people in the photographs weren't aware that they were being photographed. I tried to be discreet, but nevertheless honest.
This type of approach creates a feeling of isolation in the photographs where there is a single person. Although I create a relationship with the subject by the act of photographing, the fact that I choose not to be observed creates an empty space that lets through the loneliness of those people. And I mean a physical loneliness, a separation from the crowd. They are alone with their thoughts and I am there to capture that. And what is most important to me is the fact that I share that moment with those people, for one fraction of a second they are part of my life and I am part of theirs. I feel as if I know them, even for a shortest moment.
I think this series is characterized somehow by a certain type of silence. Silent people in silent moments. A fact that comes in contrast to the general noise and intensity of the city. I enjoyed finding these moments very much. They were like small treasures that re-created the city from a loud, busy, sharp space to one where these elements move from the foreground to the background to make room for the quiet, the hidden, the delicate.
Being in Manhattan, walking its streets from north to south, from east to west has been a wonderful experience. It really feels as if there is no other place like this anywhere else. Even if at first it was difficult for me to find my rhythm as a photographer, to break that boundary I seemed to encounter, I found myself free of the difficulties because I photographed that which is familiar to me anywhere I go, the small, simple moments of human existence. And as anywhere else in this world, it is those moments that I think connects us all beyond any cultural differences.