Q: You mentioned your wife is here with you in Chengdu, do you plan to settle down here, what’s your plan in the future?
[Raz] Settling here is definitely one of the options on the table and I’d be very happy with such an outcome. However, me and my wife tend to take it one year at a time – and we haven’t decided where we’ll spend our life.
Q: I heard you’re busy with your work, how can you balance photography with work? Or is there any possibility for you to work as a photographer and quit the current job in a IT company?
[Raz] Keeping balance is not easy. Work is very rewarding and I like spending around 10 to 12 hours every day in the office. So, in order to have time for photography, I arrange at least 1 month of vacation per year spent purely for traveling, adventure and photography.
To answer your other question: I enjoy my job a lot and find game development very gratifying. Photography, on the other hand, is a hobby done out of passion. Those two don’t compete with each other and I don’t see a scenario in which I would be compelled to turn photography into “work”. That could take the passion out of it.
About your job:
Q: you mentioned you have 9 years of working experience, can you share with us your biggest achievement in those 9 years?
[Raz] Sure. It would be my pleasure to go down the memory lane and remember the most satisfying moments. If I had to choose: the past 2.5 years in China have been some of the most fruitful ones since I had the opportunity to build a stable QC department, develop tools that are now used at Ubisoft WW level and participate in making games that our audience will surely enjoy playing. Working in Ubisoft Chengdu has not only been a pleasure, but also an honor to be in the company of so many talented people.
Also, my previous 3 job functions in Ubisoft Bucharest provided me with unique opportunities to contribute to AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon. However, I hold in high regard the opportunity to have helped people grow, guided their career and provided my assistance in helping them achieve their goals.
Q: can you share with us your daily work with us?
[Raz] A normal day includes overseeing projects that are either under development or in post-launch phase; also dealing with staffing, meeting people for brainstorming or creative sessions on how we can tackle various situations; and last but not least, the less glamorous administrative work on logistics and resources management.
Q: when comes to work, which type do you belong to, workaholic? Strict to work?
[Raz] You got me here, I’m a confessed workaholic spending up to 16 hours in the office during crunch time.
Q: do you play games? Which type of games are your favorite? Have you got any achievements in games? (no limitations among MMORPG, mobile, console, & handheld…)
[Raz] Playing games comes with the territory. Most of the time I play for fun, but many times it is for research purpose. The latter involves playing mostly any type of game on any platform.
When it’s for fun, I prefer: RPG, 1st person shooters and open-world games: Far Cry, AC, Ghost Recon, God of War, Max Payne and Portal.
Q: how did you start photographing? It seems there is a big difference between photographing and developing games, you learned by yourself?
[Raz] I’ve always been attracted to cameras and their capacity to freeze time capturing a moment that has a story to tell. I started experimenting with photography about 9 years ago, with a very simple camera. Along the years, I cycled through quite a few DSLR models and traveled to around 20 countries practicing my photography skills along the way. Indeed, it involved self-study and appreciating photos from fellow travel photographers, as well as award-wining ones.
Q: do you like photographing people, scenery, or others?
[Raz] I dabble in each of those, also adding Macro photography to the list here. It really depends on the situation and environment. But, my main passion lies in capturing people, that human element which adds a story or intrigue to a photo.
Q: you are living in Chengdu, which part of the city inspires you most so you want to take out your camera and memorize it?
[Raz] The parks are a very good spot thanks to teaming with kids and people of all ages relaxing and having fun. Couple that with the surrounding nature and it’s prime territory for photography.
Q: as an expat, how did you decide to hold a free photography workshop in Chengdu?
[Raz] It’s easy: I like to share my experience and photography tips with enthusiasts interested in this topic. I’ve learned a lot from the community and it’s time to return the favor by helping those who are just starting in this field, eager to learn more.
Q: you have made a lot of achievements in photography, which achievement makes you most proud of?
[Raz] The collaboration with Chengdu International Photography Center and Sichuan Tourism Department brought together many good photographers. We were all very glad and proud to be able to contribute in the effort of promoting areas from Sichuan.
Also, another good achievement was made for this very workshop at Blue Roof Art Museum: a very generous sponsor (成都迪比特贸易有限公司) is helping organize and reward participants. We’re not just giving a lecture into macro photography, but we’re also providing participants for free with the very tools they need to improve themselves.
Q: can you share with the readers some tips in photographing? You can keep it short and simple.
[Raz] It will be my pleasure. Here are some basic and very important tips: apply the “rule of thirds” and “rule of spaces”, shoot at the “golden hour” (sunrise and sunset), be patient and try to blend-in at first so that you don’t draw too much attention (this will ensure natural photos with people minding their own business).
Q: you mentioned you decided to stay more than the initial 1 year, can you share with us what made you stay? You can give us some examples. J
[Raz] People here are very nice, talented and easy to work with. We achieved many things together. Also, on a personal level I have to admit that I’m addicted to the spicy food 🙂
Q: how do you see the difference between Chengdu & Bucharest? (both in work & life)
[Raz] There’s actually not that much difference in term of work. It’s the same good vibe and productive stance towards getting things done.
In Chengdu I would say that people are very friendly and easy to work with. In Bucharest we value professionalism, good planning and work ethics; relationships are based on mutual respect and trust, while in Chengdu there’s more of a “big happy family” feeling.
Q: have you got used to Chengdu, such as food, life pace, language, friends…(or any other things you want to share)
[Raz] Yes. It’s easy to get accustomed to the life here when you enjoy it so much. I have Chinese friends who helped speed up the exposure to the culture. As a side note, those friends were very eager at first to see my reaction when eating spicy food 🙂 We got some good laughs on that.
The language is still something I strive to learn. For now, I know enough to get by in the daily life and also to be able to travel in China on my own.