The short version:
My name is Cosmin and I just might be the best wedding photographer money can buy.
The long version (but really just selected highlights):
Warning: too much information! Proceed with care!
4.5 billion BC – Earth forms by accretion from the solar nebula.
1974 – I am born by accretion from my mother, in Timisoara, Romania.
No, I’m not taking any pictures yet.
1975 – I eat, poop, sleep and cry. Sometimes all in the same time. Probably unrelated to my endeavors, the parents file for divorce.
1979 – Growing up with dad. After Oradea, we move to Baia Mare, in northern Romania.
1984 – No, I still did not take my first picture yet.
1989 – I move in with my mom, in Blaj, Romania. I start high school. I start friendships that will last a lifetime and will influence plenty of winters to come.
The so-called revolution takes place in December. Thousands of people die shot by ‘terrorists’. A ‘terrorist’ was never caught or even seen. Don’t ask! A bullet hole was carved right above our kitchen door for many years. And one in the concrete fence of the front yard.
1990 – I step outside Romania for the first time. I’m in awe! I discover I love to travel just for the sake of seeing new places and cultures. Without a very clear reason, I come back. I get my first pair of jeans (it’s either that or a walkman).
1993 – My right foot is paralyzed for a few months. I give up on my biggest dream: to join the French Foreign Legion.
Much to my and everyone’s surprise, I start university, faculty of Journalism, in Cluj-Napoca.
I go to work in constructions, in Turkey. One evening I find myself watching an incredible sunset over the Marmara Sea and, for the first time I have this weird feeling … I wish I had a camera to record that moment, so I can share it with my friends. Two weeks in on the construction site, our drunken boss shoots his gun right outside our room, threatening everybody. I decide it’s time to go home while still alive. The 10 Deutschmarks a day is definitely not worth that much.
1994 – Still no photography. Slightly different priorities.
Looking for a better life, all by myself, I’m crossing the border in Hungary and then, illegally in Austria. I don’t have any specific plans, but I don’t even need to because I get caught soon after that and spend a couple of days in a prison camp. That’s where I have the best Hungarian macaroni and walnuts ever. That’s a food, don’t think of anything else!
1995 – Not giving up. With a compact group of friends and professional guides, we start an incredible adventure to make it to Athens, Greece, in search for work. Four sleepless nights and two agonizing illegal border crossings later, after surpassing my known and unknown physical limits, we make it to Greece. Nothing ever really goes as planned and I find myself alone in Athens, without a job, money or a place to stay. I return home a little wiser.
1997 – I get my bachelor’s degree in Journalism. I start the second faculty, Social Sciences. (ok, so I don’t know the terminology of the corresponding North America’s educational system, but you get the idea)
After some stressful interviews and a fair share of training, I get a contract as a bar waiter on a Carnival cruise ship, the natural thing to do with a degree in Journalism.
Christmas Day. My brother, my friend, his sister and I decide to go for a pizza in Alba Iulia. We leave Blaj in an old Audi 100 and I ride shotgun. It’s only a 30 minute drive to Alba, but we never make it. Half way there, the driver loses control of the car, bolts across the highway into a field and we start rolling. I’m the first one to get out of the car… through the windshield. The next second, the car flies exactly above me and I can clearly see its rusty belly; it rolls a few more times and stops on its wheels. By that time I’m already standing up without a single scratch on my body. Just lost a shoe. The top of the car caved in exactly where I used to sit. I realize I’m going to live forever. Everyone else has to go to the hospital, but they are ok.
1998 – I fly to the capital of Cuba, Miami, to start my first contract with Carnival, but not before a friend gives me his Vivitar compact camera, in case I want to take some pictures. For the next six months, I sail once a week to Mexico, Key West, Grand Cayman and The Bahamas.
I swim naked in the Atlantic Ocean. No sharks dare to approach.
At the age of 24 I take my first picture and my first selfie.
1999 – I meet my future wife on the MS Paradise cruise ship. We work together in the bar department.
After 2 months of dating, we get married on 9.9.99 in the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, USVI.
2000 – I take more pictures.
2002 – Finally, with the help of my Indian bar manager, after a hopeless and long struggle, I am successfully transferred to the Photo Dept. on the ship. I’m working as a professional photographer.
2003 – My sister in law gets married in Edmonton, Canada. We fly in for the event. There are 4 Romanians and 800 Indians at the wedding. Festivities go for days and I’m enjoying every second.
2004 – In a nerve-racking experience that we’ll last more than 3 years, we’re trying to immigrate to USA.
2005 – I start working on my personal project, photographing all the UNESCO sites of Romania. I’m having the best time of my life traveling all over the country, sleeping in my car, a blue Mazda Premacy minivan, eating chocolate croissants with buttermilk and taking lots of pictures. Three years just fly by.
2007 – Time to give up on USA and apply for Canada immigration.
2008 – I shoot my first destination wedding, in Prague, Czech Republic.
We receive the immigration visa for Canada. In September, we fly to Edmonton, Alberta.
End of September, I shoot my first photo session in Canada with my pregnant sister-in-law. I start my photography blog.
In October I send my resumes all over the city, looking for a job.
In November I’m hired by Sears portrait studio for only two months, the Holiday season.
In December I shoot my first paid personal photo session in Canada.
2009 – I discover the lemon and poppy seed muffins at Save on Foods.
I launch my UNESCO monuments website: www.patrimoniuromanesc.ro I built it from scratch in Flash. It’s in Romanian and English and it’s pretty amazing.
I shoot my first Indian wedding and 7 more after that. I photograph a total of 12 weddings of different cultures. I cannot explain what’s happening, but I’m having the most amazing time.
2010 – Late September, our car is stolen from the building’s underground garage. Funny story, but for another time…
In December, our downtown apartment is robbed and all my photo equipment is stolen, including sample albums and some custom printed shirts.
2011 – I shoot my first wedding in India. On a street in Patiala, astonished beyond words, I find one of my wedding pictures from Canada, printed on a huge billboard, advertising for a local photography business.
2012 – February. My wife and I are separated.
2014 – On 11th of March, during a ceremony that brings tears in my eyes, I receive my certificate of Canadian citizenship.
In October I photograph my 100th Indian wedding.
2016 – I can’t believe I photographed weddings on 5 continents and so many beautiful countries: Australia, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Dubai (UAE), Romania, Czech Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Canada and all over USA: New York, Maui, Las Vegas, San Jose, Sacramento, Dallas, Boston, Honolulu, Chicago.
2019 – I shoot my first wedding on the Moon. I keep dreaming. There’s still a long way ahead…