If the record selector triggers emotions on the dancefloor, then it’s up to the photographer to capture these emotions and pin them to eternity. And the complex electronic underground movement in Romania, that has managed to become so influential world wide in a just bit over two decades, doesn’t make the photographer’s job any easier. With its subtle inflexions and infectious groove that tend to connect straight with the subconscious, it’s hard to explain why it turned out into something so addictive.

But maybe the answer is hidden into Kay Ross’ photography. Born in Roma, Italia, and now based in Cluj-Napoca for the past 14 years, Karim landed for the first time in Romania in the early nineties. Back in those days, Kay was feeding his artist alter ego as part of movie productions crews and also working for MTV Italy. Yet, his family “advised” him into leaving his artistic aspirations behind and go for a more “serious” career. As a young Law School graduate, he worked for the anti-mafia movement with Palermo’s mayor and major EU institutions at that time. Married, a high payroll and traveling all around the world sounds like the world is at your feet, right? Well, not if the Universe has other plans for you. A real estate investment that went bad, then a divorce after a 12 years long marriage forced Kay to face reality, leaving him a couple of options to starting a rediscovery journey he always felt he needs to take. He made the smartest decision: he grabbed his beloved Nikon. All he needed was the perfect subject and he stumbled upon it by accident. After attending a Ricardo Villalobos party at Kristal Club, Kay finally found his calling: portraits in a clubbing environment. From here to becoming the artist who signed some of the most iconic still images from the electronic underground was just a matter of time.

“No matter how many people are in the picture, there’s always a main subject in it”. Karim doesn’t use any flash, while being a loyal Nikon user, for the warmth given to the portraits and also for the famous Nikon imperfections that imprint a natural, organic vibe to his work. Yet, it’s not enough to mount your 85mm / f1.4 lens and start shooting. Driven by his artist gut feeling, Kay Ross always tells a story, but with a high dose of mystery around it, as it’s up to us to let our imagination run wild and build that story. Maybe this is why Waha Festival is one of Karim’s favourite festivals, where it’s not all about the music and the backstage crowd, but it’s about people and the value they add to the gathering. Based on this simple principle, Kay Ross founded RedDot, a community of like-minded people who gather near Cluj-Napoca from all over the world, to enjoy nature, good food and by all means good music. Music still remains a main ingredient, so expect killer sets from Cesar Merveille, Raresh, Herodot or other eclectic artists in the lineup. 

RedDot comes as a natural evolution from Romania’s underground scene. From dark & sweaty dancefloors, things started to evolve to daytime gatherings, fuelled by more expansive tones of house music (no more balance from one foot to another :D). The notorious close to perfection DJing techniques developed by Romanian selectors now have a different playground and the crowd responded accordingly. Talking about the crowd, “it’s the beautiful people that makes the Romanian crowd so special, compared with other countries”. Combine this with the scene’s ability to transform itself so fast and you get the perfect party. Coming from a guy that attended parties on almost all timezones, from Vietnam to New York, it really means a lot.

These are just a few fragments from an hour long conversation we had with Kay Ross, a photographer who realised that it’s not all about the money, but it’s about what you leave behind for the generations to follow. From flawless press kit photos made for the most famous DJs in a clubbing environment to still images captured right in the middle of the dancefloor, it’s all about emotions and feelings. And Kay Ross is so so good at revealing them, with that something extra that you cannot express in words but feel it in your stomach.

So, we asked Karim to match a handful of pictures to a few themes we thought are suitable for Romania’s dancefloors. It built into a beautiful love story, enjoy it as much as we did 👇


Love on the dancefloor


Dance like nobody’s watching


How does a soulful smile really look like


For the love of house music


Last night a DJ saved my life



The sensual groove of Romania’s underground



When time stood still and space disolved


I wish this night will never end!