Alecsandra the Great

She’s not the ruler of the Macedon Empire, still she never lost a battle in her life. Alecsandra. The Great. The greatest of all ‘youth photographers in the world’ states her recent Sony International Award. ‘When I don’t have my camera with me I feel like something’s missing’, says Alecsandra while working out with the focus of a vintage camera.
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Alecsandra Dragoi is a Romanian student at Portsmouth University, working now on her final project: a portrait series on successful Romanians living in the United Kingdom. And when she says successful she refers to the people ‘not settling for whatever and doing their best in what they do – if it’s catering or acting’.  She is one of the ‘successful’ Romanians. But she’s way to shy to show herself in front of the camera.
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She once did. When I was working for the Romanian National Television (TVR Iasi) as a reporter she was one of my first interviewees. I can remember her as if it were yesterday: the same one of a kind ginger long hair girl with a very unusual humble attitude for a 17 year-old teenager who won a competition of Photography of the French Cultural Institute.This ‘Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi’, a name that I wrote on my notebook, was the ‘personage’ of my reportage: she was dreaming to study photography in the UK. The first award came as a confirmation for her. She was indeed, made for storytelling the world in the 1000 words of a good shot.

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I met her three years after in London.  I found out she’s on diet, she always drinks her coffee in the morning and she likes to travel by coach just to keep her thoughts clear. She’s still quiet and humble, but you can hear Alecsandra’s loud enthusiasm when she speaks about photography. ‘The best shots make me so happy that nothing else matters. I can’t explain how happy I am; it’s what I love most’.You would always see Alecsandra having her camera on her shoulder. Tripod, lights, everything backpacked to go from one story to another, from one landscape to a portrait. She’s always looking for the right light, right angle, right story. After a good shot she gets the ‘wow’-burst as a in a victory.

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Meanwhile she had some other victories – she was short-listed on the International Nepal contest of photography and also was a nominee for the Ambassador’s Awards in the United Kingdom. ‘I was so happy to just be there! I didn’t get the award, but the real award was just to be there on the list. It’s a sign I have to work harder. I want more and more’.’More’ is about moving to London next year when she would probably get to work for a great photographer to ‘steal like an artist’ and get on the cover of magazines. Not her. Her photos.

Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi is on the cover of my blog. She is one of the Great Romanians that successfully picture the country. And the future.


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