An ongoing photography project about Maramures, Romania

Maramures, a region in the northwest of Romania, considered once a vast museum in open air because the traditions are here preserved like nowhere else in Romania, shows in our days a much more complex picture where traditions and modernity meet in a sometimes funny way.

Maramures was and still is considered a paradise for etnographers and photographers drawn to a romantic image of traditional lifestyle but they will have to accept that this image is actually being sold to tourists looking for „authencity“, home-cooked meals, home-made brandy and cosy rooms, some decorated in a traditional syle. Like an old woman from Valeni told me as I was admiring her old wooden traditional house: „Yeah, why don’t we switch? You can live here but give me your comfortable apartment where I wouldn’t freeze in winter.“

A considerable part of the youth and the not-so-youth are working abroad and bringing back goods that are considered the brandmarks of the Western world. You can sometimes see expensive BMWs rallying on the muddy streets of the villages in Maramures. Another old woman from Budesti who got as a present a cell phone from her grandson working in the constructions in Germany told me: „Such a cell phone is wonderful. But I have to go to the neighbor to charge it. I don’t have electricity at my house.“ This aspect of crazy mixtures, what we perceive as contradictions, will be covered in the following phase of my ongoing photo project.

I first started to take pictures there in 2006 and fell in love with Maramures. Over the years it grew into a long-term photo project and I guess I’ll never have the feeling that I’m done with it.