Thursday, September 10, 2020

Artist Spotlight Interview: Andrei Cosma of PhotoCosma/PhotoDesign


A sample of Cosma's incredible ability to capture nature's surreal, tenebrous beauty.

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/


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Love Letter to The Captain

https://pngio.com/images/png-a1169670.html

A Love Letter to The Captain

The playgrounds are empty;
The hospitals are full.
Captain Trips is here—
There’s nothing we can do.

There are just too many bodies
For only one bed.
I can hear the Monster Shouter screaming,
“Bring out your dead!”

They want us to stay inside
To help them flatten the curve.
Maybe this is all karma—
Just what we deserve.

We suffer from the strain
Of COVID-19,
And slowly go insane
From social distancing.

The sports are gone,
The concerts quiet.
Too much more
Could spark a riot.

No one saw this coming
Despite the writing on the wall.
It was always “when” not “if”,
This fate we would befall. 
  
It’s quiet now in Jungleland
As we adjust to the new norm.
We’re writing our own epitaph
As we seek Shelter from the Storm.

The beaches are abandoned—
You can hear the Night Surf.
Step outside and you might think
That you’re the last person on earth.

From Arnette to Ogunquit—
And Vegas out to Boulder,
In New York and L.A.
The fever burns a little colder.

They say Don't Dream It's Over—
That we shouldn't Fear the Reaper.
Is it the Eve of Destruction?
The darkness grows deeper.

We’re antisocial socialites
All across the nation.
We love to hate and hate to love
In silent isolation.

We’re led by narcissistic sycophants—
Solipsistic dilettantes.
Puerile pedants and
Misanthropic hypocrites

Who care more about money
And their corporate bottom lines,
Than the millions who will suffer
For a greed so blind.

It all starts at the top—
That’s where it all comes from.
The WHO and CDC say
The worst is yet to come.

Still we Stand and salute
The American Flagg,
With Sympathy For The Devil:
Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?