A doctor by trade and photographer by avocation, Romanian-born C. (Cornel) Fodoreanu has found a way to satisfy his muse at his new 500-square-foot art studio in Liberty Station at Studio 205, Barracks 14, 2770 Historic Decatur Road.
The Kaiser pediatrician recently had a soft opening in his new gallery space on Nov. 1. His art studio will officially open during Arts District Liberty Station’s free First Friday monthly art walk Friday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 9 p.m.
The artist-physician has even found a way to meld medicine and art in a chosen photographic theme: at-risk youth.
“In my upcoming show, I focus on the resilience of urban youth and am pleased to be able to give back to support their ongoing education,” said Fodoreanu of his latest photographic exhibit titled “Street Smart.”
A collection of moving black-and-white photos, “Street Smart” documents Southern California's unsung heroes — street-hardened, at-risk youth — many who are victims of gang violence or are from broken families.
“They are not my patients but kids I found out about through a friend of mine whom I’ve taken photos of in their environment,” said Fodoreanu of “Street Smart” being exhibited Nov. 1 to Dec. 22, at his new studio.
“Street Smart” is a fundraising exhibition with 50% of proceeds going to an educational fund to support Fodoreanu's youthful photographic subjects.
Born into a family with a long tradition of icon painting, they immigrated to the United States while Fodoreanu was in high school. He learned to paint early on, and got his first camera as a pre-teen. His photographic work touches on the human condition, the fleetingness of time, divine intervention, the fragility of life, personal boundaries, play and intimacy.
The artist-physician's themes were inspired by his diverse educational background, which includes a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy of Science from UC San Diego, and a master’s degree from Harvard Medical.
Fodoreanu has found his photography complements his medical practice. “I get to use the other side of my brain with this photography gallery,” he said. “Photography allows me to be more mindful, to reconnect to who I am, to kids. It helps keep me grounded.”
His artistic philosophy is reflected in his mission statement on his website, https://www.cornelhenryart.com, which reads, “We think photography can break free from political constraints. … elevate itself above the daily grind, liberate itself out of the mundane, and reach quintessential thoughts. We think photography deals with humanity at its purest, with raw fundamental emotions, ideas and esthetics … is firstly beautiful, unveiling surrounding harmony, and standing the test of time as the primordial poetry of light.”
Fodoreanu enjoys being a child physician. “I love it,” he said. “As a pediatrician I can intervene very early on and make an impact on someone’s life, prevent diseases and bad habits.”
Although photography takes up much of his free time, Fodoreanu concluded, “I need to have some other things to be a complete person.”
He talked about the future of his new Liberty Station art gallery.
“I would like to showcase local, emerging new faces in photography in San Diego, as well as some other colleagues of mine,” said Fodoreanu. “I’d also like to run some photo competition contests, along with having some art interns working in the gallery.”