Bitter honey

We dearly remember the old beekeeping days ? We didn?t squander out time. For me and for my former colleague it was a matter of surviving that tough period ? Each of us was struggling. Some people wanted to make a film with somebody who was selling images showing the misfortunes the country was plagued by at that time, and wanted to take part in the footage for documentary films on wretched children, asylums, the Romania of the handicapped. Others wanted a position in television, and they are still holding it. Some others were looking for jobs: manager, assistant manager, warehouse supervisor, doorkeepers and public clerks. There were many cameramen and directors who did nothing and lived off the money they got from renting the buildings.

I was in the beekeeping business in 1992 and 1993. In 1995 I realized that I could set up a firm and start getting orders. I retired in 1995, so as not to be competition ? I would have my own business and that was that.

I had orders for traditional films, not only for digital films, from CFR. The history of the railways ? The Saligny Bridge, the Teodorescu Bridge, the one next to it. And back then, I took the footage on traditional film ? My firm was first called Publiferom and then Reu Studio.

Later on I tried to diversify my business. I got into publishing. I published ?Din porunca lui Zalmoxe. Pietrele dacilor socotesc? (As Zalmoxe Commanded. The Computations of the Dacian Stones). I also began publishing photo albums? In time, I took a greater fancy to photography, greater than the one I had for film making, because film making after 1990 involved a lot of money. You had to be young and have enough energy, too if you wanted to struggle to get that money. I had orders for documentary films on technical matters, meaning films on the production process at Automatica and other orders from the former scientific advisors I had worked with at ?Sahia Film?. But these orders were limited by the low budget invested in making documentary films by those who thus wanted to advertise their products.

The money I needed for my studio I got by doing all sorts of jobs and by working for instance at weddings and baptism parties. I made films on both occasions and managed to earn my money in an honest manner. ?Hey, boy, you with the pictures, come over here!? And I went. I had a Smena from before the Revolution and I had recently bought a common compact camera which I used to take photos in Herăstrău Park and at wedding parties. ?Here you are, sir ? ? ?And how much would this be?? ?Nothing, sir, the groom pays for them.? I was somewhat ashamed. I can?t afford it. If I accept money for my photos, I?ll have to charge the poorer client too. My profession is my profession. It?s one thing to take a picture at a wedding party, and another to take pictures for your client. I mean I didn?t accept money for it. It?s professional ethics. That?s how I managed to get money for my equipment. I wouldn?t have pulled it through otherwise.

1 The Social Democratic Party.
2 The Romanian Democratic Convention.

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