Noël Tamini, then journalist and marathon runner, often praised this country where, he was certain, my traveling spirit and my curious eye would be satisfied.
From the fall of the regime in December 1989, leading to the opening of the borders, the way was clear and the time came for an initiation. The pretext of a gypsy marriage precipitated things and from the following July, I found myself in Bucharest gray then in the flat areas towards the Black Sea, the steppe of Baragan, made famous by the thistles of Panait Istrati.
My new friends from the Slobozia agricultural museum made me discover their department of Ialomitsa: among the gypsies of Andrasesti, the peasants of Gheorghe Doja, the shepherds of Milosesti, …
The omnipresence of horse traction, the scarcity of the car park mainly composed of R12 Dacia, the work in the fields, poorly mechanized, the habitat of the countryside, old-fashioned… all this country universe brought me back a few decades back, to time of my rural childhood. So immersed in this country finally possible, which opened like a flower abroad passing, I made a journey in space but also in time.
A year later, here I am in the north of the country, on the Ukrainian border. I discovered Baia Mare, polluted by lead vapors, before plunging into the Maramures depression where the distance seems to have been kept with the intentions of collectivism. A harsh peasant people resisted and kept their traditions. The work in the fields shapes a green and hilly landscape, distinguished carpenters maintain an ancestral know-how offering wooden houses and churches, the musical tradition rhythm of parties and weddings … As for the welcome, it was beyond my expectations.
The pleasure of discovering a rich and varied country, an atmosphere evoking my origins, hospitality as an art of living, … Romania had won: I will not stop going back there, most of the time at the beginning of summer, in a hurry to fall into the arms of my friends, transported by the heady smell of hay, attracted by the scent of the unknown …
I will discover Moldova and its painted monasteries, the golden hills of the Apuseni mountains, the gypsy village of Clejani; I will have a strong human adventure in Bessarabia, on the other bank of the Prout river, beyond the ex-iron curtain, …
Over the course of my stays, fourteen to date, I slow down my pace, taking into account the need for exchange observed among the people I meet, like an empathetic witness. My photography, first influenced by the habits of reporting, reactive, predatory, is softer, nourished by the relationship with the other.
The Romanian rural world is suffering from the effects of globalization, the income from the land no longer feeds families, we are witnessing a general exodus towards the west of Europe. However, the bonds woven do not relax, the pleasure of seeing each other does not weaken, other surprises are promised to me here and there. The Romanian countryside has not stopped being generous to me and offering me new wonders.
“Terres promises ” / 1990 – 2015
20 pages brochure on coated paper
Cover in 240g / 16 inside pages in 150g
To order from the author