Interview with Oliver Merce and Dan Moruzan


Interview with Oliver Merce and Dan Moruzan: Two Romanian photographers about their unusual project, a conversation in images.

by Marc Barkowski

The rule was simple: One of them would send a photo and the other one would answer by sending a photo back. That’s how they created pairs of images with somewhat similar or antagonistic content, sometimes the story was even continued over several image exchanges.


Soul of Street (SoS): Hello Oliver and Dan, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Please introduce yourselves to our readers. 

Oliver Merce (O. M.): Thank you for the opportunity to present ourselves in your magazine. I was born in 1977 and live in Timisoara, one of the largest Romanian cities. 

In 2010, I started to take photographs in a “conscious” way and after about a year, I realized which style suits me best. I am particularly attracted to documentary and street photography and use shades of gray only. I totally exclude color photography, because I consider black and white the most appropriate way of presenting the unique moments in the lives of the characters I meet. Many of my photos show a dramatic world, slightly hopeless, full of cruelty, realism and irony. I sometimes try to compensate for this dramatic aspect by showing sincere sympathy and – sometimes – humor.

Also, I wrote the books “The Anatomy of Decay” (2016), “For You” (2019) and I have co-authored the book “5 Years of Shooting Street Photography” (2017).

Dan Moruzan (D. M.): Hello everybody! I’m a Romanian street photographer based in Bucharest, where I was born. Since 2010, I have been playing around with documentary photography, especially street photography, and since 2013, I have been using an analog Leica M6 and a Summicron 50mm on the street only.

SoS: What made you decide to start your photo project?

(O. M.): Dan came up with the idea. In February 2018, after a visit to Timisoara, Dan suggested to have a photographic dialogue. I was very excited about the idea and saw the photo project as a challenge.

(D. M.): It all started with a site created by two American artists, anewnothing.com, that presents visual conversations between pairs of photographers. Initially, we wanted to do some visual dialogues and apply to be listed on the site, but, working and discussing, we decided to continue until we had enough images for an eventual exhibition. And here we are…

SoS: What stories or messages did you create in the process?

(O. M.): I don’t really like to talk about the contents of my photos. I hope the viewers discover the stories or messages themselves. I can only say that these pairs of photos were born looking for images having common or antagonistic elements and sometimes even a little story.

(D. M.): The working method was simple: We each sent a photographic challenge to the other one and had to answer by sending a photo back. We so created pairs of images. They are connected by either the continuation of the story from the first photo, a visually symmetrical or even antagonistic image or, more simply, the visual response of the receiving photographer to the first photo.

SoS: Do you use analog or digital photography? 

(O. M.): In the last 3 years, I have only used digital cameras. Until then, I used analog cameras from time to time. I have to admit that film has a special charm. And let’s not forget that it slows down your tendency to take meaningless photos. However, the performance of digital cameras today is far superior to analog cameras. Many photos taken during some of my documentary photography projects would have been (technically) impossible to shoot using an analog camera.

(D. M.): I photograph in analog format using a Leica M6 and 50mm. Usually, I use an Ilford HP5+ for street pictures, but I started considering analog photography a challenge. Can I do it? I learned quickly, liked it, and now digital photography seems strange to me… The problem with digital photography is that you can easily over-process images and thus, you lose the reality factor. In street photography, only the subject and the moment matter, not perfection of exposure or file quality.

SoS: What is your insight from the project?


(O. M.): The idea of this project is that there is no idea. The only conclusion is one I already knew: Street photography is based, from my point of view, very much on chance. However, it was a very enjoyable project.

(D. M.): We had very good reviews at the exhibition in Negresti-Oas as well as at the online exhibition in May 2020. The photos were appreciated by other photographers and even by non-photographers. The project allowed us to show different visions of street photography: Images from two cities on one topic as well as a combination of digital and analog photography.

SoS: Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you all the best and continued success!

©Oliver Merce

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

© Oliver Merce

© Dan Moruzan

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