My name is Iris Maria, and I am a photographer based in Bucharest, Romania. I started taking photos eight years ago, and until recently, my main focus in photography has been on documentaries and street photography.
In 2020 I started taking self-portraits due to all the restrictions that we had to deal with. I found it to be rather exciting and challenging. At first, I experienced anxiety and difficulty in accepting myself as a subject and the process of letting go was a bit tough. It was complicated for me to find photos I liked from what I shot.
Technically I had to learn things I was not very familiar with. Post-processing was a new challenge for me because when shooting documentaries or streets, I never focused on post-processing the image too much. I wanted to keep my pictures as raw as possible. Also, I had not used long exposure times or double exposures until recently. So, all of this was very new to me. New and stressful, but I am very stubborn, so I kept going, and eventually became good at it.
And then there was the personal journey; I found things about myself that I didn’t know until recently. I found out that I have no preconceptions, that I love being feminine, that I love flirting or expressing my anxieties and self doubts in front of a camera. I never knew I was so brave.
I learned to accept myself as I am and to let go in front of the camera- to be honest with myself and with the ones that would look at my work. I believe honesty is essential when shooting portraits. I like to experiment a lot, and I always get new ideas; it’s never dull for me to do this kind of work. I discover a bit of myself each time. It feels like a puzzle that I am putting up together. And that is very fun and beautiful for me because I rarely really plan ahead when shooting.
I sometimes sketch some ideas, but I mainly end up shooting things I didn’t think about. I just enter a new state where nothing that I shoot is carefully controlled. I must say that so far, the reactions from those who have seen my work have been better than expected. It made me happy and motivated me to carry on. Knowing my work can resonate among many of the people looking at it is always rewarding.
On the other end, I had some people calling me narcissistic, attention freak, or superficial. And while everybody is entitled to their opinions, I have to disagree with this because I believe that my work is part of discovering the person I am, myself as a human being and artist and I see nothing superficial in that.
My shift from documentary to portraits was rather abrupt, but so were the events that occurred in 2020. I took this as both an opportunity to learn something new about photography as well as discovering unknown parts of me. And when I look back at everything I have accomplished and learned in a year, I have no regrets. After all, not being able to shoot would have been truly a nightmare.
You can find her on social media
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Iris Maria. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.