So, a lot of people ask me WHY did I decide to move from England to Romania. The answer is pretty simple. Change.
Living in England certainly has it’s perks but at the same time, it’s not really an exciting country to look at. It’s that feeling of “the grass is greener on the other side” and I always had desires to leave the UK and travel to another country.
The reason I chose Romania was because of the fact that I wanted to move somewhere that not everyone decides to move and let’s be honest, not everyone thinks of moving from England to Romania, especially when the media publish so many bad images and articles about Romania and it’s people. So I decided to see it first hand.
There was a bit of romance involved with my decision also, I met someone who lived in Tarnaveni which is a small city close to Targu-Mures and we had known each other for a number of years before we started talking regularly. We would often discuss what Romania was like and how it is, after I did some personal research, we agreed to meet and I spent a week in Tarnaveni with her.
After touching down, I was already totally fascinated with the country, it was really quite incredible. I could feel the charm of Romania the moment that my feet touched the ground. It was HOT. I arrived in April and having left England, it was cold and wet.. then arrived in Romania, HOT AND SUNNY. Now, being British, I can’t say that the sun agrees with my skin so much, but it’s 1,000,000 times better than the weather that I have been subjected to throughout the years living in Bristol.
I arrived pretty late in the day and we had already been travelling to a few different places in the area and this was the start of my Romanian adventure.
I visited, Sighișoara, Turda and Târgu Mureș during my visit and this pretty much sealed my fate. The Salt Mine in Turda is truly breathtaking, I’m not sure if we have anything like that at all in the UK but even if it was, I’m sure that it still wouldn’t have been as magical as my experience in Romania was. Of course, one of the things I noticed is exactly how cheap it is to live in Romania, the cost of pretty much anything was so low that I even had plenty of money remaining from my trip. Enough that I actually left that money here as a guarantee that I would be back, soon.
I started preparing for my move to Romania the moment I arrived back in the UK. I began organising what I would sell and what I would keep, arranging to pack certain items and begin looking for work and of course, save, save, save to my target of at least £2,000.00.
I literally began to sell everything, even the floor from my apartment which I only put down less than 6 months before was packed up, sorted and resold to a new owner. I eventually managed to condense my entire life down into two large boxes, ready to send to Romania.
I released my apartment and moved with my sister for the remaining month until everything was final and ready to go. I sent my entire life in two boxes to Romania for £80.00 which contained my iMac, audio equipment and all my other ‘essential’ items and tracked it online every single day until it safely arrived at it’s new home.
I’ll be honest, it arrived in pretty bad condition, but considering that it was sent in a crisps box, it help up pretty well. Plus, UPS seemed to have secured it with a little extra tape. Nothing was broken.
On the 12th of July, I made my journey to Romania. Waved goodbye to Bristol and made my way to Luton airport to start my new life living in Targu-Mures.
I cannot describe the excitement of finally making this hard work and planning come into reality. Here I was, in a completely different country, I didn’t even know if I would manage to find a job but there was something inside that just made me feel as though everything would be just fine.
As it happens, after a short adventure filled holiday to some of the beautiful areas here in this part of Transilvania, I managed to secure a job in Targu-Mures and moved to my first apartment in the city.
It was a great experience, everyone was very helpful and after I settled down, I decided to start building the ALR Photography brand here in Romania.
On the 24th August 2013, the studio was set up and was ready to start accepting clients. At first business was quite slow, understandable as I was completely new here, nobody knew me, I was only speaking English and of course, this was a bit of a bottleneck for me in terms of building new connections but eventually it started to pick up.
One client here, one client here and then the events started. I shot at two school proms which were held at a local venue, this was something that I have never seen before. BOY Romanian’s know how to party! The event was packed, 100’s of people and after taking two of these events, my Facebook page popularity skyrocketed. Over 1,000 new likes in less than a week, simply because of that event. It became very clear that this is where the audience is and then I began to focus my attention on event photography.
I then took my first proper photo shoot in Targu-Mures of Csilla Koteles who is definitely an uprising star in the modelling world. She boasts a lot of confident, looks and maturity and I was really happy to have had the opportunity to work with her.
Here are a few of her shots:
From this shooting, new talent started to emerge and the popularity of my work began to increase.
It got to the point where I was actually beginning to know a lot of people in Targu-Mures and really feel at home. Even though the relationship didn’t really work out, Romania was now my home and I was determined to stay.
Since this day, the brand and myself have come a long way and I moved to Cluj-Napoca in September 2014 to continue my adventure. It is from Cluj-Napoca that I am writing this now, and from this day on I will continue to update you with more interesting events of my life as they unfold.
Thanks for reading!