As I sit here in my tweed jacket, pondering whether or not I’d like a pipe to smoke, it seems apt that I dip into a bit of history – so let us dive military boot first into 1980s Romania. Under communist rule, Romania’s debt to the outside world grew sharply which led to a huge austerity push, impoverishing Romanians and crippling their industry. Nicolae Ceaușescu (then autocratic leader) began to increase the authority of his police state, ruthlessly enforcing a self-styled cult of personality. It culminated in his execution in the revolution of 1989.
Set against this contextual backdrop is a breathtaking photographic project by Ioana Cîrlig and Marin Raica. Post Industrial Stories is a long-term study of four regions in central and western Romania, all of which have a long history in exploitation of natural resources. Ioana and Marin aim to capture the real story behind the places and people staying in each town for months at a time: “By actually living there we can go beyond the skin-deep approach that we’ve previously used.”
They go on to explain that this will give them the “opportunity to meet and listen to unremarkable people, who are the very foundations of these little communities.”
Ultimately, Post Industrial Stories asks the tough questions and spends time on each element of the story, enabling the project to get at the heart of its subject matter— the impact of deindustrialisation, unemployment and poverty. Simply put, this project is a tour-de-force in documentary photography.
If you’d like to help Ioana and Marin continue to realise their dream project, you can help to keep the photos coming by calling and making a small donation: (RON) RO74 CECE C001 9462 6651 8311, (EUR) RO61 BRDE 445SV 590709 64450.