The Mission of AlexaArt Photography is to touch the lives and hearts of as many people as possible through the vision of a camera lens and/or glamour remake to allow creativity and vision to uniquely transform each individual to reveal their inner strength, beauty & self confidence, no matter what size, race, age or origin.
My name is Maria Bleahu. I was born in Sibiu, Romania, in the region of Transylvania, I moved to the United States at an early age with my parents for a better life. Growing up with two cultures, I often felt like an outside observer, carefully studying language and behaviors so as not to attract negative attention to myself. Fascinated with psychology and anthropology, my childhood dream was becoming a photojournalist for National Geographic Magazine. This career path led me to two different disciplines, photography and cultural anthropology.
Although I grew up learning more traditional arts like painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking, photography was an easy transition for me, combining my two passions, psychology and anthropology and expressing them in a creative medium. I bought my first camera when I was in college, getting my BFA and BA from Youngstown State University.
While in college, I worked as an assistant to the Chair of the Anthropology department, Dr. John White. Assuming a variety of roles, I journeyed to the Hubbard House and took photographs of the location, made prints from twenty year old negatives, photographed artifacts, catalogued and organized artifacts, did statistical analysis of the area surrounding the Hubbard House and helped him write a chapter in his book. I also worked as lab assistant for the photography and printmaking departments, getting to know the faculty and students from both art and anthropology departments. At the same time as I was working on my two degrees, I began freelancing as a photographer, taking photos of weddings and events professionally and urban landscapes and portraiture for my fine arts program. During this time, I met Dr. Rosemary D’Apolito who was a professor of mine in the sociology department. She hired me to photograph her wedding and took me under her wing as a mentor.
After graduation, I continued freelancing and when I saw the increasing need to do event videography, in addition to photography, I decided to study filmmaking. I attended the New York Film Academy in 2006 and received my filmmaking certificate at the end of the year. There, I learned how to write a script, direct actors, produce short films, and take on the role of director of photography. About a dozen short films later, I graduated and continued working on independent films, as director of photography and assistant director.
I won my first cinematography award for “The Fastest Gun in the West,” an 8mm short that aired at the Soho Short Film Festival in London, after its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, 14th out of over 200 films submitted. Here are a few examples of my work, including “Fastest Gun” Following film school, I began working as an instructor for the Video Department at Stark State College, where I continue to work, as full time faculty and course coordinator for the video program. My students and I worked on the behind the scenes footage for 25 Hill, an independent feature directed by Corbin Bernsen.
Continuing with my photographic roots, I embarked on a sociological project with Dr. D’Apolito, photographing women for her research on new immigrants who moved to the Mahoning Valley. I had my first solo exhibit in 2010 at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor in Youngstown Ohio. It was the largest opening of a solo exhibit in its history. One day, I would like to write, direct, and produce films, both independently and possibly for large studios.