Fashion, Beauty and Style: Radoslaw Pujan’s Images


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by Radoslaw Pujan

by Radoslaw Pujan

It’s not easy to stand out in the genres of fashion, beauty and erotic photography, fields where the competition is tough and in which hundreds of artists thrive. Yet the Polish-born, Brussels-based photographer Radoslaw Pujan distinguishes himself in all of these highly competitive genres. Recently, his photography was awarded (by Playboy) the Fotoerotica contest. He was also  finalist in the prestigious Hasselblad Masters 2014.

photo by Radoslaw Pujan

photo by Radoslaw Pujan

Although reminiscent of the elegance and sensuality of Jeanloup Sieff, Pujan’s images are nonetheless very contemporary  in feel. His signature touch is a subtle theatricality and emotion, as apparent in the image above of the beautiful model, Iga Rakoczy. Many of his images, in fact, remind us of shoots from a drama that leaves the plot up to the viewer’s imagination.

photo by Radoslaw Pujan

photo by Radoslaw Pujan

Many of his sensual images play upon the notion of voyeurism, staging a play of glances between the watcher and the watched. But what is perhaps most impressive about Radoslaw Pujan’s photography is its versatility. His images cover the gama of life and human experience, from erotic, to fashion, to beauty, to historical, to nature scenes. The conventions of one genre spill over into another, enriching it.

photo by Radoslaw Pujan

photo by Radoslaw Pujan

Radoslaw Pujan’s erotic photos, for instance, are full of elegance, beauty and style, characteristic of fashion shoots. Analogously, his fashion images are very sensual and dramatic, as erotic photography tends to be. And his beauty shots find inspiration in nature photography. In Radoslaw Pujan’s artwork you will encounter a feast for the senses and a wealth of inspiration for the imagination.

image by Radoslaw Pujan

image by Radoslaw Pujan

Claudia Moscovici,

The Photography of Dan St. Andrei: Dreaming of a Perfect Imperfection


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Romanian-born photographer Dan St. Andrei adopts a philosophical approach to the art of photography. He states: “Life is eventually an eternal attempt to understand your purpose, to build up and mold, to grow and to define yourself … I would like to discover daily reasons to love myself.”  His images take on so many different styles and approaches: from the fetishism of his sensual fragments; to the poetic dynamism of his photographs of dancers; to the reflexive and dream-like quality of his dystopic utopia images, which he calls, in a deliberate pun,  Mytopia.

If his photo series have any common thread, it’s in depicting life, as Dan St. Andrei himself puts it, as “beautifully imperfect.” The beauty lies in the aesthetic impact, since Dan St. Andrei’s images are not only beautiful but also dreamy, even haunting. The imperfection is revealed in the human emotions and anxieties they reflect, holding a mirror to both what we reveal and what we hide within. As the artist puts it, through the art of photography, he searches “for  the meanings and hidden motivations that put our world into motion.”

It’s difficult to imagine a world without fantasy, without dream. This would be a world devoid of possibilities, without a future. Dan St. Andrei captures our dreams and hopes in motion, as they develop, both literally from the camera as well as figuratively in our minds. He states: “There are moments when we ask ourselves about our purpose in life, about its meaning and our motivations. There are moments when we ask questions about life, as it is or as we imagine it to be.” The gap between reality and dream is not unbridgeable. It’s often connected, in fact, by art and our imaginations: “There are moments when we allow our imaginations to roam free; in which we allow ourselves to dream.”

Dan St. Andrei captures the dreamer in each of  us, whether we’re artists or not. After all, it’s our dreams that make more bearable our imperfect reality; that help us change it for the better; that give us hope and a sense of drive and direction in life. Without these aesthetic dreams, we risk getting bogged down in the routines and responsibilities of daily life. The dreamer in us, the artist explains, “lives through these moments” when life’s “imperfection becomes beautiful.” This may be only our personal vision–a fantasy–or what, if we follow our dreams, we make happen in real life.

There is also a sense of nostalgia in Dan St. Andrei’s images, as he suggests bygone eras. He does this without melancholia however, even adding a ludic touch, as in the fashion series below, photographed by Dan St. Andrei and created with the help of the talented stylist, Alin Galatescu.

Andrei Octav Doicescu aptly stated:  “The present disintegrates, first in history, then in nostalgia.” Nostalgia is an acute, often painful, awareness  of an irretrievably  lost past that we still long for in the present. But Dan St. Andrei shows us the past doesn’t have to evoke sadness. The past can reappear in our present as a playful celebration of previous epochs, in our imaginations, in art and of course in history. 

Like a Proustian search for lost time in pictorial form–a search for lost love, for impossibly perfect social structures, for the (unattainable) fulfillment of our sensual and sexual desires–Dan St. Andrei’s photography captures the peregrinations of our search for meaning in a life deprived of certainties. You can view his portfolio on his website,

Claudia Moscovici,

My Interview about Postromanticism and Books in Celebrity Dialogue


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Claudia Moscovici: Novelist, Non-Fiction Author & Art Critic PDF Print E-mail
March 11th, 2012
Interview of Claudia Moscovici on
Claudia Moscovici is an American Romanian Novelist, non-fiction author and art critic. Her latest novel “The Seducer” is a psychological story of a married woman trapped in the love of an unassuming psychopath. Claudia is the author of “Velvet Totalitarianism,” a critically acclaimed novel about a Romanian family’s survival in an oppressive communist regime due to the strength of their love.

CelebrityDialogue: What is the basic plot of your latest novel “The Seducer”?

Claudia: “The Seducer,” my new psychological thriller, shows both the hypnotic appeal and the deadly danger of psychopathic seduction. This novel traces the downfall of a married woman, Ana, who, feeling trapped in a lackluster marriage, has a torrid affair with Michael, a man who initially seems to be her soul mate and her dream come true. Although initially torn between love for her family and her passion for Michael, Ana eventually gives in to her lover’s pressure and asks her husband for divorce. That’s when Michael’s “mask of sanity” unpeels to reveal the monstrously selfish psychopath underneath. Written in the tradition of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina,” my novel shows that true love can be found in our ordinary lives and relationships rather than in flimsy fantasies masquerading as great passions.
CelebrityDialogue: What inspired you to write this novel?

Claudia: I have always been a big fan of nineteenth-century fiction that focuses on the theme of seduction: I’m thinking of classic novels like Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary”. I also read with great interest the libertine novel tradition of the eighteenth-century: my favorite in this genre being Laclos’ epistolary novel, “Dangerous Liaisons”. I think in his depiction of Valmont, Laclos gets the seducer profile exactly right: he is a dangerous psychopath—essentially a social predator who plays games with the lives of others, having malicious fun at their expense– rather than a libertine maverick (as in Casanova) or a tragic romantic hero (as in Tolstoy). I did four years of psychology research of the most dangerous personality disorders—psychopathy and narcissism—to create a realistic and up-to-date psychological profile of the seducer in my new novel by the same name.
CelebrityDialogue: Would you like to introduce our readers to a non-fiction book, “Dangerous Liaisons”, that you wrote in 2011?

Claudia: Although the theme of psychopathy comes up mostly when we hear about (psychopathic) serial killers, it is actually much more commonplace and pervasive, in both fact and fiction. What do O. J. Simpson, Scott Peterson and the timeless seducers of literature epitomized by the figures of Don Juan and Casanova have in common? They are charismatic, glib and seductive men who also embody the most dangerous human qualities: a breathtaking callousness, shallowness of emotion and the incapacity to love. In other words, these men are psychopaths. Unfortunately, most psychopaths don’t advertise themselves as heartless social predators. They come across as charming, intelligent, friendly, generous, romantic and kind. Through their believable “mask of sanity,” they lure many of us into their dangerous nets. My nonfiction book, “Dangerous Liaisons,” explains clearly, for a general audience, what psychopaths are, why they act the way they do, how they attract us and whom they tend to target. Above all, this book helps victims find the strength to end their toxic relationships with psychopaths and move on, stronger and wiser, with the rest of their lives.

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CelebrityDialogue: What exactly is psychopathic seduction?

Claudia: Psychopathic seduction happens when someone is seduced (targeted, lured with false promises or under false premises, deceived, manipulated, isolated and brainwashed) by a psychopathic social predator. Psychopaths are far more common than one thinks. Experts estimate that between 1 and 4 percent of the population is psychopathic. This means that there are millions of psychopaths in the United States alone. The influence of these very dangerous individuals extends far beyond this percentage however. Psychopaths are generally very sociable, highly promiscuous and con countless people: sexually, emotionally and/or financially. They poison tens of millions of lives in this country and far more, of course, internationally.

Claudia Moscovici The Seducer

CelebrityDialogue: Your novel “Velvet Totalitarianism” is about a Romanian family’s survival against communist regime. Since you have Romanian roots, did any true life events prompt you to write this novel?

Claudia: “Velvet Totalitarianism”, which was recently launched in Romanian translation (“Intre Doua Lumi,” Curtea Veche Publishing, 2011), is inspired in part by events in Romanian history as well as by elements from my life and my parents’ lives: including my father’s defection to the U.S., our dealings with the Securitate and our immigration. Nevertheless, I fictionalized both the historical and the biographical elements to give the novel a tighter and more dramatic structure.
CelebrityDialogue: You must have felt proud when this novel was published in Romanian language?

Claudia: I was delighted that “Velvet Totalitarianism” was published in Romania, both because it was written about the history and struggles of the Romanian people and because I have a sentimental attachment and cultural ties to my native country. I was especially happy to see how well-received the novel in translation (“Intre Doua Lumi”) was by the mainstream media in Romania, where it was featured not only in literary and culture magazines such as Scrisul Romanesc and Viata Romaneasca, but also in, women’s glossy magazines (such as Revista Avantaje), and general interest blogs like and Since I aspire to being a public writer and intellectual, I wish to reach a wide community of readers, internationally.
CelebrityDialogue: Which are your other major published works?

Claudia: I have published several scholarly books, but I’d consider “major” works only those books that I wrote for a general audience. These include my art criticism book “Romanticism and Postromanticism”, on the Romantic tradition in art and literature and its postromantic survival; my novels “Velvet Totalitarianism” and “The Seducer”, and my psychology book about psychopaths and dangerous relationships, “Dangerous Liaisons”.
CelebrityDialogue: You are the co-founder of” Postromanticism”. For those who may not know, please shed some light on this movement.

Claudia: I believe that art movements are not only diachronic, emerging one after the other, as they tend to be taught in art history, but also synchronic, in that each new art movement borrows from many aesthetic traditions of the past. Postromanticism, the international art movement I co-launched in 2002 with the Mexican sculptor Leonardo Pereznieto, is no exception. It is inspired by several traditions in art history, including Neoclassicism, Romanticism and art nouveau. Postromanticism places emphasis upon beauty, sensuality and passion in contemporary art. You can see samples of postromantic art on my website,
CelebrityDialogue: Since you write about love, beauty and passion, what does love mean to you in real life? Were you able to find love in your life?

Claudia: Being a novelist and art/literary critic, for many years I looked mostly at fantasy—since, after all, that’s what art and fiction are–to describe love as a romantic ideal rather than as a daily lived reality. But for the past few years, particularly after studying personality disorders, I have come to appreciate much more the pragmatic and ethical dimensions of real love. To me, love implies mutual commitment, supporting one another through thick and thin, fidelity and caring about one another: everything that the wedding vows promise and that my wonderful and supportive husband, Dan Troyka, has offered me in real life for over 20 years, since we met and fell in love in college.
CelebrityDialogue: What are you working on these days?

Claudia: Since my interests are in several fields—fiction, art and psychology—I always work at several projects simultaneously. This “multitasking” keeps me from becoming bored with any one subject or stuck in a rut creatively. Right now I’m researching the psychology of cults, which will be the subject of my third novel, “The Cult”. Since cult leaders are often charismatic psychopaths, this novel will incorporate a lot of the research I’ve already done to write “The Seducer” and “Dangerous Liaisons”. In addition, I have just finished writing the preface for an exciting new science fiction novel called “The Cube”, written in the tradition of Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Orwell’s “1984”, which will be published by my publisher in a few months. At the same time, I’m working closely with the Romanian-born movie producer Bernard Salzman, whom you’ve already interviewed in Celebrity Dialogue, on the screenplay for my first novel, “Velvet Totalitarianism”. Hopefully this will be an American-Romanian production, since a large part of the plot takes place in Romania. I also continue with my art criticism and am preparing for the launch of “Romanticism and Postromanticism”, translated by the writer and critic Dumitru Radu Popa, in Romania next fall. It’s a Latin country so I’m hoping for a warm reception of postromanticism, the art of passion!
CelebrityDialogue: Thank you so much Claudia. It was a pleasure.

Claudia: Thank you for this interview, the pleasure was mine.

Perfect Partners: Photography and Dance


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World-renowned dance photographer Richard Calmes captures the elegance and poise of dancers in his breath-taking images. His new photography albums, Dance Magic and Water Dance, will make any art lover’s Christmas dreams come true. Dance Magic is mysterious, dramatic and captivating. Water Dance flows with energy and radiates beauty.  It will be tough to choose between them. You can see sample images from both albums on Richard Calmes’ website, Holidays!

Claudia Moscovici,

Christmas Is Coming!

Book ad 1
What better gift than page after page of beautiful dancers caught at the peak of their expression? Your holiday shopping was never easier! Two books are available: DANCE  MAGIC and the new WATER  DANCE.  Stunning images will inspire everyone from dance students to those who simply love dance or those who love photography. Editions for every budget!
Click here to preview books or order:    .

Creative Photo Sessions this YearIt’s been quite a year for experimenting with both new lighting techniques and unusual shoot locations. From a classic car graveyard to a fabulous town center fountain, my dancers always give me more than I expect. See for yourself!

 Click on a thumbnail to see the gallery

                  jan studio    Ailey 2011    Extreme   Fountain

            Old car   light fun   light play   Fountain

            oct studio   Fountain   nutcracker   Fountain

About Richard Calmes Photography

Richard is available for photographing live dance events, publicity work, and studio work. His goal is not simply to photograph but to create art. Creativity and new ideas are always the priority. Please call us today to discuss any needs, or any wonderful ideas,  you might have.
Visit the web site for thousands of beautiful images!

More on Romanian Photography: Claudiu Ciprian Popa


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I just returned from a book launch in Romania and was very impressed with the artists I had the pleasure of meeting in person and collaborating with. I have posted earlier articles about two impressive Romanian photographers of international stature: Nicolae Cosniceru and Dan St. Andrei. Today I’d like to present Claudiu Ciprian Popa, a young photographer (and Director of Photography) who impresses both through his versatility–he has a double formation in photography and film–and through his talent. It’s not an accident that Claudiu Ciprian Popa’s style resembles in some respects Nicolae Cosniceru’s, his former mentor and now colleague at There’s a noticeable similarity in the manner in which the two photographers approach the public through a striking visual impact of juxtapositions, as in the photo below of a young woman painted in black.

Claudiu Popa, however, retains his own unique style and a more lyrical approach to photography, as evidenced by the series Firefly Dreaming (of the model that goes by the name Laura Firefly), which reveals a metamorphosis of a young woman into a vibrant and seductive sensual being.

A talented Director of Photography, Claudiu Ciprian Popa has also collaborated with Barna Nemethi (whom I’ve written about earlier, on on an artistic commercial for Encyclopedia Britannica. This commercial offers not only an aesthetically interesting presentation of its main theme–books–but also a philosophical reflection about time. Through rapidly moving images, it traces the transformations in our lives which fundamentally change us while also pointing to some stability or foundations, provided by our upbringing and culture.

Recently, Claudiu collaborated with Curtea Veche Publishing on a book trailer for my novel, Velvet Totalitarianism, translated into Romanian by Mihnea Gafita as Intre Doua Lumi. I was fortunate enough to participate in making this short film and to meet the talented young actors, some of whom are already stars on Romanian TV shows. Although we only had a few days to make the book trailer, Claudiu managed to recreate the introductory scene of the novel (in a short skit) as well to capture the novel’s overall mood (in the later, dreamy sequence).

This short film marks not only a new step in Claudiu Ciprian Popa’s career, but also a relatively new direction in publishing: namely, that of launching books through multimedia publicity campaigns that include book trailers and music videos. For more information about Claudiu Ciprian Popa’s photography, see

Claudia Moscovici,


The Incomparable Jeanloup Sieff: Sensuality and Elegance


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The photography of Jeanloup Sieff  epitomizes class, sensuality and elegance. Born in Paris of parents of Polish origin, Sieff’s interest in photography began very early, at the age of 14, when he received a camera as a birthday gift. He quickly developed a knack for photographing women, which would continue to be a favorite subject. Sieff  studied at the Vaugirard School of Photography in Paris and the Vevey School in Switzerland. In 1956, he started shooting fashion photography, developing a signature style in capturing women’s beauty with classic elegance . His black and white images, where shadows seem to emphasize rather than hide fluid curves, offer voyeuristic peeks into women’s sensuality  as well as dramatic hints of their personalities.

Very popular with the American market, Sieff moved to New York during the 1960’s, where he worked for the top fashion magazines, including Esquire, Glamour and Vogue. He’s best known, however, for his captivating images of celebrities, including Jane Birkin, Alfred Hitchcock and Yves Montand. In the video that features his photography and the song Je t’aime moi nonplus, performed in a sizzling duet by Jane Birkin and her lover Serge Gainsbourg, the video artist Elia Iglesias captures Sieff’s intoxicating mixture of eroticisism and elegance.

Sieff won many hearts and several prestigious awards for his images, including the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris (1981) and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1992). He is the blueprint and inspiration for postromantic photographers today, whose works you can view on our website

Claudia Moscovici,


Poetry in Motion: The Dance Photography of Richard Calmes


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The twentieth century was the era of specialization. Every field became so highly specialized and technical that only experts could master each discipline. The twenty-first century, however, is the era of collaboration. As an art critic, I’ve witnessed this comingling among different fields in the domains of advertising, cinema and photography. Some of the most talented photographers in the world work as Directors of Photography for commercials and film. Since both are primarily visual arts, one might expect a fruitful collaboration between the domains of photography and film. What is more unexpected, however, is the combination of photography and dance. No artist that I know of has pulled it off better than Richard Calmes.

An American dance photographer with a growing international reputation, Richard Calmes has  travelled all over the United States to capture the talent of some of the most gifted dancers and share it with the world. His images range from the most urban contemporary dancers in New York to the most classical dancers in Washington D.C.  He experiments with light, setting and color to capture the unique aspects of each genre of dance as well as of each dancer. His photography represents an homage to the beauty of dance as well as to the mental and physical strength and discipline it takes to be a dancer and make your body do what most of us can’t: and, what’s more, do it gracefully.

In an email exchange, Richard told me that his great admiration for dancers has a personal dimension (as well as, incidentally, a connection to my native country, Romania): “My daughter danced in Bucharest in the early 90’s. There was a dance Company here in Atlanta, Georgia founded by a Romanian, Pavel Rotaru, who was once a famous dancer there. He took them to Romania on tour and they were received with much passion. She had a great time. It was watching her grow up and improve year after year which taught me the sacrifices and love dancers have for their art!”

Richard Calmes’ images, like dance itself, are poetry in motion. They express movement, personality, character, mood and theme. His more shadowy black and white series is understated, classic and mysterious.  Most of his images, however, include striking and bright colors, to capture the drama, sensuality and passion of modern dance. And then you also have his motion or dynamic series, which trace the movements of the dancers in flight, to maintain the focus on dance as the most dynamic art form.

Featured on the covers of dance magazines as well as in gallery exhibitions, the photography of Richard Calmes shows the benefits of specialization and collaboration among the arts. This is no Marxist rotation of disciplines, where everyone purports to be good at everything: an impossible utopian goal that leads to nobody being really good at anything. Rather, Calmes’ images show the best of contemporary artistic reality at work: the most talented artists in each field working together to create something far better together than they would separately, as you can see in this video:

In my estimation, we’ll continue to see each field of art develop (both technically and artistically) and thrive in its own genre while at the same time we’ll see more and more collaborations among artists working in different domains. Soon art exhibits will no longer be held only in museums or galleries, but also in dance halls, movie theaters and concert halls. Analogously, dancers will sometimes dance at gallery exhibits, particularly when the exhibit itself focuses on the art of dance. Calmes is paving the way not only for other photographers, but also for the increasingly multidisciplinary direction of contemporary art in general. For more information about Richard Calmes’ photography, take a look at the artist’s website on the link below.

Claudia Moscovici,

The Sacred and The Profane: The Iconic Images of Majeed Beenteha


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Majeed Benteeha is an Iranian-born photographer, poet and aspiring film producer. Moving back and forth between Tehran and New York City, he simultaneously combines and clashes both worlds, in a spectacular mix that challenges cultural assumptions on both fronts. His images often feature veiled women posing nude in an iconic fashion that seems more sacred than profane.

Benteenha’s strikingly original photography violates religious orthodoxies–about feminine modesty, about the religious and social connotations of the veil–only to show us another way to respect women and all that they represent: love, maternity, sensuality, desire, intelligence.

His images are simple, beautiful, erotic and dramatic. They include symbols associated with the Muslim faith, but also seem very European in many respects. Perhaps unwittingly, Beenteha’s photography alludes to works like L’Erotisme, by the French anthropologist and philosopher Georges Bataille, which presents the sacred as inextricably related to the profane: not just for Muslim societies, but for all cultures in general. Bataille famously states:

“The essence of morality is a questioning about morality and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil.”

It seems that is precisely what Beenteha’s artistic short film below underscores, in its mirroring and contrast between a universal modernity and Muslim tradition; between light and dark; between masculine and feminine; between tenderness and predation; between desire and contempt.

Claudia Moscovici,



The Magical Realism of Michael Parkes


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Michael Parkes is a master of contemporary magical realism in art. Parkes is a painter, lithographer and sculptor of international repute. In literature, magical realism is associated with the works of Nobel-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose novels One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) play with myth and fantasy in their representations of reality. The critic Matthew Strecher defines magical realism as “what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.” In Marquez’s fiction, the depiction of everyday human lives takes on allegorical, and even mythic, proportions. Trespassing the boundaries between reality and imagination, magical realism taps into myth and fantasy to offer a deeper version of reality. So does the art of Michael Parkes.

Born in the state of Missouri and a graduate of University of Kansas, Michael and his wife travelled all over the world, including to Europe and Asia, where they found a wealth of artistic inspiration. In an interview, Michael states that he’s always had “two loves in [his] life… art and philosophy.” An avid reader of Greek and Roman mythology as well as Eastern philosophy, Michael integrates mythical motifs into his art, similarly to the legendary American painter and illustrator, Maxfield Parrish.

In the lithograph above, called Angel Affair, Parkes harmoniously combines the fantasy of a seductive angel with elements of a Greek goddess and the realism of a man dressed in a business suit. Angel Affair depicts an escape from the mundane reality of work through the promise of a pleasure with no sacrifice: a sensuality that retains its innocence. What may be impossible in real life, becomes possible in the world of of magical realism.

In his magnificent sculptures, Michael Parkes often relies upon characters from Greek and Egyptian mythology to represent not only the unique blend of magic, faith and supernatural explanations of reality that ancient cultures provided, but also the complementarity between masculine and feminine principles. In every domain–drawing, painting, sculpture and lithography–Michael Parkes’ magical realism unites the artistry of life-like representations with ancient cultural symbols that feed our imaginations and offer us an enriching escape into the world of fantasy.

You can view more of Michael Parkes artwork on his website, 

Claudia Moscovici,