Full name: Odeta Catana

Currently lives and works in: Berlin, Germany

Practice: Documentary photography

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” Aaron Siskind

I do admire those people who know from the very beginning what they want to do in their life and that they follow that path quite strictly. In my case, I could say I tested a few paths but somehow I felt they all were taking me a step further towards where I wanted to be. I got a degree in History and Theory of Arts and this is how I discovered visual anthropology and photography. I received my MA degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology in Romania and then I studied for the MA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport. My wish is to combine all these interests and knowledge that I have gained along the way. I like to approach my subjects from a gentle angle, to be very close to them, to understand their life and depict their entire story as personal as I can. I have been documenting the massive Romanian migration to other European countries, mentally disabled people in Romanian institutions, communities of Roma people who have moved to Berlin and other social phenomena. I currently live and work in Berlin, Germany.

Why are you a part of MagiC Carpets: I was invited by The New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) as a resident to join the creative team of a Latvian theatre company KVADRIFRONS for the process of creating documentary performance “A Country of Grandmas”.

What inspires you as an artist? I find inspiration in everything, in my daily life, in visiting an art exhibition, in nature, or even in my own family, in my motherhood.

What do you think is the purpose of art? It depends. For most, art is a form of self-healing or of communication, for others it is a tool to bring political changes, to raise awareness for all sorts of causes, or even to subtly influence popular conceptions or emotions. Maybe we sometimes use only one purpose but then we can also combine all these. I had a few projects that spoke about my concerns, some issues that I was thinking about, which I could overcome through photographing. The projects themselves were a way to communicate with the outside world and to influence others in some conceptions as well.

Your favourite book(s): Susan Sontag – On photography

Your favourite film(s): Good Morning, Vietnam

MagiC Carpets project: A COUNTRY OF GRANDMAS

My participation in this project was quite unique as it was a performance after all. The residency was divided into two parts. During the first part, I had to document the grandmothers of the actors participating in the performance. I went together with the actors from the theatre company Kvadrifrons to visit their grandmothers in different parts of Latvia, or the rest places of those who had already passed away. I took portraits of them, but also captured little details of their daily life, gardens, homes, etc. The goal was to collect enough images so that later on, during the second part of the residency, I could create an exhibition in the performance, to be more precise, at the exit of the performance, when the audience would leave. The entire performance was about the relationship between seniors and the young generation (actors), and the exhibition displayed the photography of these grandmothers.

Other projects

Berlin as Utopia

Your world changes when you move from one country to another. You are confused, you feel lost, but you are encouraged, if your relatives are with you. And if you are young, you are full of hopes. A few hundreds of Roma people, moved with their entire families from the village Fantanele (Romania) to Berlin, Neukolln neighbourhood (Germany). They are trying to make a living through their talents, playing instruments, going to German schools or taking integration courses. The focus of the project is on the young generation. Therefore, they have been photographed in various settings from class rooms to their houses in order to re-create their world. Each one was asked: “Why Berlin?”

Contact information

Email: odettecatana@gmail.com

Phone: +49 15218345162

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