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Tamas Dezso offers glimpse into post-Communist Romania

By dpreview staff on Jan 19, 2014 at 08:00 GMT
Tamas Dezso offers glimpse into post-Communist Romania
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Tamas Dezso offers glimpse into post-Communist Romania

Tamas Dezso is a fine art documentary photographer based in Budapest. Since 2011 he has been documenting the disintegration of former Communist Romania's infrastructure in a series of photographs called 'Notes for an Epilogue'. In his own words, the purpose of the project is to 'render a world which may disappear forever imperceptibly and very rapidly due to the transitional nature of the [Communist] era'. 

Above: Anastasia (Livada, North West Romania), 2012 from 'Notes for an Epilogue'.

Photo copyright Tamas Dezso, courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco

Via: Wired, Source: Tamas Dezso

Comments

Total comments: 238
12
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (2 months ago)

Coherent, pungent and just plain beautiful.
Well done, Tamas Dezso.

0 upvotes
Slava123
By Slava123 (2 months ago)

Here's a reportage of sorts by a Russian designer Lebedev, who travels a lot and puts together these somewhat unorthodox reports, mostly photographing road signs, garbage bins, telephone booths, etc, and people of course. You can probably translate that page to read his comments to every picture, which are more or less his thoughts spoken out loud. At the bottom there are forward-backward links to other pages of the report, you can see other Balkan countries there as well (the one right after is about Bucharest and the one before is about Romania in general).
http://www.tema.ru/travel/bexp-9/

0 upvotes
Black Box
By Black Box (3 months ago)

Mr. Dezso will get a lot more stick for his "glimpses" than this modest forum. Romanians dominate chats and forums. He's doomed!

0 upvotes
crisno1
By crisno1 (3 months ago)

Romania looks sad and hopeless through the eyes of this photographer. This photos don't represent Romania. If you want to see the beauty of this country and its people, check out the work of Sorin Onisor http://www.sorinonisor.ro/ or Dan Mirica http://www.danmirica.ro/ and Bogdan Comanescu, who lives in Transilvania and some of his work was published in National Geographic https://www.facebook.com/bogdan.comanescu

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Slava123
By Slava123 (2 months ago)

Yeah, I mean he took a picture of a landfill... What for? What's the message here, "things built by the communists are in a state of decay 20 years after the communism is gone"?

0 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

Roma comunity or "tigani" is a secondary issue here. The main thing is the content of the pictures. For someone who lives in Transilvania and knows the history over hundreds of years these pictures have a different meaning. Translivania was under Hungarian ruling long enough at different times in history and some Hungarians today from both sides of the border thing that Transilvania should be theirs, part of Hungaria. Romanians ancestors were in Transilvania long before Hungarian ancestors settled in the Pannonian basin. This work of Tamas Dezso was over three years in Romania, showing a steady interest. I don't have a problem with his artistic merit, but the bad thing is that he uses his photographic skills to create a bad impression about Romania and Romanians for someone not knowing the local history and the reality today. Like the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. Powerful tool.

3 upvotes
greypixelz
By greypixelz (3 months ago)

You have to get your facts straight. Transilvania was incorporated in the austrohungarian epire which existed from 1867 to 1918. That was the only time Transilvania was under hungarian rule. In 1919, after the fall of the empire and the subsequent coming into power of bolsevic-communists in hungary, the Romanian army, after having eliberated Transilvania, occupied Budapest and thus smashed the first bolsevic regime in Europe. you are welcome, hungary!
The hungarian state ceased to exist in 1526 after the batte of Mohacs and became just another province of the Otoman empire. The greater three Romanian provinces were NEVER subdued, even though at one time or the other had to pay heavy tribute.
As to mr. tamas' work, it is pure bs, staged and crude, nothing to do with Romania. He does not seem to understand the country (why should he as he is as foreign to this land as palm-trees) and easily falls into eclectic stereotypes.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

The battle for Translivania was long before austrohungarian empire. I was thinking about all the history of Translivania since Hungarians came to Pannonic basin in the 9-th century, and including the last time when part of Transilvania was given to Hungarians in 1940. The post is limited to 1000 characters, I could not get into details about the history of Transilvania and it doesn't matter so much in the coments here. Wikipedia shows all of these to anybody who wants to learn more. Painful memories for members in my family too. The work of Tamas D is not going to full people like me about his intentions with this kind of work about Romania, and people in Romania.

2 upvotes
intro
By intro (3 months ago)

(continued from below message)
number 4, Ciprian the bear dancer. That bear is a costume for winter festivals, around Christmas and new years eve, when young put on those, from little to big bears and put on a show in villages or at festivals in towns. There are bands who have 50-70 "bears", so it's quite a show, never one "bear dancer".
While i appreciate the art and skill of the photographer, I think that dpreview title is misleading.
The photographer has imposed a feeling of isolation and desolation for the series (that's what i get, at least), but from this to "a glimpse into post-communist Romania" is a long way.
And yes, i give a f**k because i was born and live in Romania.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

I would comment few more pictures:
Picture 1: That's the place for mirror? Over a nice large window curtain? The red on the face: does she have a skin condition or she was beaten, or color added for dramatic effect? And she is contemplating what happened to her or to her life, with dark indoor while plenty of light outside.
Pic 2: It reminds me about Ceausescu execution, little people on a large wall in the background.
Pic 7: Timofte was waiting with the weight of that steel coil on his shoulder. Who would do that, unless he was paid?
Pict 9: That person climbed there to get some scrap metal while the concrete stairs above were hanging down from just few rusty steel rods in the concrete? And all that happened while Tamas D. was going by to capture some pictures?!
Pic 12: The window on the left full of spider webs, while on the right with a window curtain! No furniture, bad looking walls, dark interior, and plenty of light outside. Staged.
Pic 13: Isn't that Hungarian style clothing?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
intro
By intro (3 months ago)

While the buildings of former mines, or factories are what they are, the portrait shots are staged and do not depict reality for a "glimpse".
For example:
Picture 2 - carpet sellers. Yes, you can see those people in Romania. They belong to roma minority, they sell carpets outside any law and try to make a living. You will never see them holding hands, as they belong to "traditional" roma community. The woman is mostly required to walk behind the man (by roma tradition), at an certain distance. And you will not see them isolated, but mostly going door to door, being pushy about how much you need an carpet.

2 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

Thank you for the cultural context and insight.

0 upvotes
greypixelz
By greypixelz (3 months ago)

there is no "roma" community. there are only gypsies. "roma" is a made-up and thus artificial name given to gypsies in order to destroy their heritage and tradition. gypsy is NOT a derogatory term, so let's call gypsies as they have been called for centuries.

3 upvotes
intro
By intro (3 months ago)

Well they are also called "travellers" i think in GB. At least in Romania, the "tigan" term (gipsy) is perceived by roma (gipsy) as having an negative connotation, so they prefer the more neutral term "roma". I have met communities who would feel offended if you call them "tigani" (gipsy) and some who would prefer the term.

Certain is that by law, at least in Romania, you can get a fat fine for discrimination if you use "tigan". European Council i guess introduced the term. Just to clarify the existance of roma community :)

I treat the pictures as such, as author's artistic expression.

There are a lot of great places and people to meet in Romania, that are long gone in "civilized world". There are also crap people or places, in general big cities. But there is still the chance to travel in time, see places, habits and meet people you thought were long gone. And, of course, realize what we lost with modernity and how to reconnect with mother nature.

2 upvotes
greypixelz
By greypixelz (3 months ago)

You are quite misinformed. The "rrom" naming came in 1990 and was put into law by a non-Romanian former communist prime-minister petre roman and again in 2000 by another non-Romanian mugur iser-escu. This was done at the hand of lobbying non-governmental organizations sponsored by george soros. The name gypsy/tigan is NOT derrogatory. The have been calling themselves that and have been called that since they migrated from India hundreds of years ago.

2 upvotes
intro
By intro (3 months ago)

Ok, you be the one informed. Now let's go back to taking pictures :) Cheers!

1 upvote
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

After making every reasonable attempt to consider the merit of the recurrent criticism(s) of this series (including posting comments mapping the development of my evolving thoughts), I believe that the outrage here is largely a result of quickly formed judgements, most of which lack any effort to fully consider artistic objectives. I think hannukur's recent post is excellent in sourcing more complete intent, as stated by the artist; I also agree with s/he that DPR's titling contributes to the potential misinterpretation of the series.

This is not to say that I am fully supportive of the artistic merit of the work; it seems very familiar ground - perhaps too much so. But, to look past that, I see the imagery as compelling aesthetically and resonant (in a way that is akin to cinema). It strikes a tone of isolation, but also in those individuals shown, a certain richness of character and complexity. Is this is a stereotypal portrayal of poverty, implied as emblematic or widely representative of Romania - a point of much contention here? I am not entirely sure. But I see similar work featuring persons in many regions of the U.S. (Appalachia, the South, etc.) that appears at first glance to peddle stereotype, yet upon inspection rewards in a certain transcendence of rigid generality. What concerns me most about the comments here on Dezso's work is that so many seem certain that he is incapable of a genuine artistic motive unrelated to politics - simply because he is Hungarian.

1 upvote
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

What I perceive in Dezso's imagery is a hyper-realism; in other words, a sort of exaggerated veneer atop a reality. Some may find this incongruous with the strictest perceived demands of photojournalism, but this quality is found in many images considered to be relavent within the broad history of photojornalism; I've brought up the work of Dorothea Lange before (that, I hope, have been in appropriate discussions relating to a photojournalistic ethos). Her most iconic image of the Great Depression in America and the mass migration of displaced farmers moving west, to become known simply as "Migrant Mother", also exemplified an overarching hyperbole of wider migrant circumstance, yet is very specific in terms of its narrative content, thus sidesteps complete stereotype because of a very individualized subject. I think that this is very simalar to Dezso's approach to and tone in his photographs. And, it should be noted, he has a history of such work in his native Hungary as well as this recent work in Romania.

0 upvotes
MeloJM3
By MeloJM3 (3 months ago)

So "cliché" and easy... If you want to find poverty, and "folklorism" you can find it in just about any western European country... What would have been much more interesting is showing the existing contrast now within the romanian "society", and make understand how this contrast was created with the fall of the so called communist regime....

3 upvotes
hemiola
By hemiola (3 months ago)

What is the purpose of this "artistic" endeavor, may I ask?

'In his own words, the purpose of the project is to render a world which may disappear forever imperceptibly and very rapidly due to the transitional nature of the [Communist] era'.

He seems to argue as if this fast disappearing world is something worth dwelling on, documenting, even yearning about. Speaking of a dark bygone era as if it were an inextricable part of Romanian culture, something to be missed when it's gone, is both pointless and offensive.
If Germans were shown decaying buildings once belonging to the SS or Gestapo I doubt many would find it in good taste. And yet Germans - unlike Romanians or Eastern Europeans in general - did at least initially support the rise of that totalitarian regime.
So Mr Dezso can keep his obsession with post-communist relics to himself.
I did find some of his photographs interesting, but these have nothing to do with post-communism, ironically enough.

4 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

"If Germans were shown decaying buildings once belonging to the SS or Gestapo I doubt many would find it in good taste."

Whether in good taste or not, such work could have both historic and artistic merit. To burden all art with the demands of a moral filter would be to omit some very insightful and educational artwork. Art can be very uncomfortable to some yet a foster a very benificial dialogue and interesting dialog about human circumstance as well as other things.

1 upvote
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

As a tangent, if you are interested in ex-Nazi artists, you might want to check out the postwar work of Joseph Beuys, although he is/was certainly not celebratory or nostalgic of his past - in fact he produced decades of artwork embodying human redemption, exploring new forms of language, and otherwise advancing personal and social consciousness.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
rcjim
By rcjim (3 months ago)

"By ZoranHR (2 days ago)

Comunists were bad in some points,we agree,but they gave necessary essentials to everybody. None lived on the street. These essentials were (and are) not avaiable in "free" west."

Communists gave necessary essentials? What about the thousands who starved to death under Ceausescu's rule? Wise up!

0 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

Did you notice that Tamas D. is Hungarian and he made this kind of work about Romania over three years? Do you know enough about the local history and territorial claims before you make anybody idiot for expressing the opinion that this work is biased? You are clueless!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (3 months ago)

What makes some photographs interesting is that they are different from our everyday experience. To complain he does not photograph young people on cellphones and Macbooks is absurd. If that is what you want to see go to your nearest Starbucks and support your capitalism.

Local flavour tends to be better captured in the old, the traditional, and, yes, the relatively poor. Wealth tends to take on an international face that changes little from country to country. An old rundown two star pensione is almost certainly going to make a better photograph than a five star centrally air conditioned Hilton Hotel that will look the same from New York to Novokirsk.

And poverty is picturesque, as all those of you who have shot a snot-nosed kid while on your hols in a third world country know only too well. (And many of you have posted those images here.) Shame on idiots for politicisinig these images.

5 upvotes
arpodthegreat
By arpodthegreat (3 months ago)

What does that even mean? My everyday experience is not your everyday and your everyday experience is not the experience of the guy living down the street from me or from you or anyone else for that matter.
What I want to see in a photograph is not necessarily what I support. I don't want to see kids on their phones and laptops because I love Mac products. I want to see that because it's real.

David Maisel - takes beautiful pictures of the human impact on the environment. They are beautiful photographs but the fact that they are documenting the destruction of the environment makes them that much more interesting. much more interesting than another picturesque image of Yosemite after the storm or whatever. and also more interesting than a straightforward image of a factory spewing pollutants into the air.

0 upvotes
arpodthegreat
By arpodthegreat (3 months ago)

Lauren Greenfield - photos of girl culture, kids and money. not exactly romantic subjects but compelling for sure.

Martin Parr - photographs the culture of tourism. not beautiful but humorous and clever. I'd rather see the tourists swarming the pantheon than some postcard of the pantheon because ITS REAL.

Robert Frank's THE AMERICANS shows us rich and poor alike in order to accurately portray the country mid 20th century.

Maybe if you're a crappy photographer, you need to rely on the picturesque. But a truly skilled photographer can make a strong story of any subject that is interesting to them. A good photographer is someone is INTERESTED in the world around them and not the world they wish was around them.

Personally when I see someone's photos from South East Asia or central America and all those pictures of snot-nosed kids I want to puke.

0 upvotes
hannukur
By hannukur (3 months ago)

I got a feeling many people are misinterpretating an artist on purpose. I googled a sentence above and found this:
http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/post-soviet-romania-haunting-photo-collection.319617/

“Symbolic buildings and former factories are disappearing and villages are becoming deserted at an incredible speed, which urges their documentation,” Dezsosays. “My aim with this series is to render a world which may disappear forever imperceptibly and very rapidly due to the transitional nature of the era.”

I don't really see what all the fuss is about? What is wrong with the artist's statement? The title for the series is 'Notes for an Epilogue', not 'Tamas Dezso offers glimpse into post-Communist Romania', which is a bad interpretation made by DPReview staff. I don't also understand why they did add a word 'Communist' to artist's statement.

2 upvotes
ranjixx
By ranjixx (3 months ago)

"a world which may disappear forever imperceptibly and very rapidly". Awesome. Anyway, the photog has a better statement here - http://www.tamas-dezso.com/index.php?page=work&id=10, nothing to do with communism but with the "Spiritual tradition and physical heritage .. simultaneously disintegrating in Romania". Whch, frankly, contains a part of what Romania is going through right now. There is also another part of Romania, which I guess wasn't fitting the statement, so the photog left it out ;)

1 upvote
rcjim
By rcjim (3 months ago)

There is no doubt a political statement behind this series of photos. The photographer is clearly stating that the Romanian infrastructure would not be deteriorating and life in general would be much better for the Romanian people if Ceausescu or another communist ruled the country today. I don't agree with that statement; however, I still enjoy the photos.

0 upvotes
ranjixx
By ranjixx (3 months ago)

As many already mentioned, the pictures are not bad (more here - http://www.kochgallery.com/exhibitions/dezso-2013/01.html), but I'm not exactly sure who's adding the "epilogue" or the "post communist Romania"... Epilogue of what? Romania? Communism? Post-Communism? Unclear, since many of the pics have actually nothing to do with Communist Romania, actually transcend the period - the choir in the village is a tradition which goes many centuries, the bear tradition also spans centuries, etc. So why the title? Just poetic license? Ok, so be it. Anyway, not that important probably. The pics are not bad. Not that good either.

0 upvotes
arpodthegreat
By arpodthegreat (3 months ago)

So if I took pictures in Detroit showing abandoned buildings and people keeping warm by the trash fire could I call it a glimpse into post-industrial America?

How about surf culture and the farmlands of southern and central California; Post-9/11 America?

The photos themselves aren't that bad but the title makes it hard to just appreciate the photos for what they are. I am sure not everyone in Romania dresses in traditional and/or tattered clothing. There are urban areas and teenagers with cell phones and even cars in Romania but that apparently is not the Romania that Tamas is trying to show.

4 upvotes
stratplaya
By stratplaya (3 months ago)

I'm confused by what the photographer is trying to achieve. These photos make "post-communist" Romania look like a place in which you don't want to live or visit. Does this mean that communist Romania was preferable?

1 upvote
mcshan
By mcshan (3 months ago)

Good photos, well done. An enjoyable set of photographs and thread.

Reading the thread I have once again been reminded to not take any stock in political posts made on the DPR.

2 upvotes
exm3racer
By exm3racer (3 months ago)

What's the big freaking deal people? Photography is a subtractive art, you are looking only where he pointed the camera. You surprised about a photographer potentially "exploiting" poverty and decay for a political agenda? A few pictures of some poor old people got you mad? Happens every day. Look at pictures taken of rural West Virginia, Detriot, or any homeless person. I've seen a picture of a homeless guy using an American flag blanket to keep warm. Tell me that isn't politically motivated... and likely taken by an American photog. There are people still in rural areas in the USA living with no running water or electricity. If you go to these places you can get pictures of dirty poor children with no shoes. How is it different.

3 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

i am surprised that no red-blooded romanian has revealed that this whole so-called "art" is sponsored by a dummy corporation funded by George Soros, Gazprom, RMGC, Chevron and Bechtel with the sole purpose of discrediting Romania and promoting shale gas fracking and cyanide gold extraction. it's pretty obvious, when you think about it.

on a serious note, it's really shameful that this article has generated such an exaggerated xenophobic reaction. this only reinforces the claims made by other xenophobes that romanians are a gang of savages that have no place in modern society. this is how you chose to represent your country in an international community? did you notice how no hungarian said anything defending the photographer in question, much less anything insulting?

3 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (3 months ago)

Xenophobes and neo-Ceauşescuans see foreign conspiracies in everything. The "nationalist" mining and industry, for which you have so much nostalgia, was not particularly clean, safe, or efficient. Could firms you allege to finance a Hungarian propagandist have possibly done the job as bad?

Mining, energy, and financial fortunes have subsidized artists, galleries, museums, and the private art market for centuries. Are the results so bad? Or do you also pine for the days of state sponsorship? Look at it this way: take away private sponsors, the only choice is either are state art agencies (cronyism or political agendas) or the popular tastes catered so masterfully by the late T. Kinkade. A "none of the above" null option tends not to lead anywhere.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

This is how a Hungarian chose to show Romania in international forum, or galeries all over, and you are calling xenophobes the Romanians who say that this is biased? You don't see that in this work? The fact that Transilvania is wanted by some Hungarians has nothing to do with poor economic management by the Romanian guvernment, or it does by taking good care of what belongs to Romanians, whether natural resources or a big chunk of the country! Do some Hungarians have to say something more? There is no need for them to add anything, the pictures made a statement about Romania.

2 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

every country has decrepit areas, garbage dumps and poor people. i fail to see the horrible statement that the photographer made.

the pictures could have been taken anywhere in the world, and the result would have been the same: most people wouldn't care. this is the same way that some americans chose to portray america as well, but you don't see them bashing each other in public forums.

would it have been better if Andrei Marga would direct photographers to government-approved sites such as (what's left of) the Danube Delta, so that Romania would always look good internationally? even if you can't take a casual picture in the mountains anymore without finding some piece of garbage dumped in the water or under bushes? trust me, if anyone had an agenda to make Romania look bad using photography, there would be much more offensive images on display. and we only have romanian citizens (of all ethnicities) to thank for those potential opportunities.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
greypixelz
By greypixelz (3 months ago)

This is hungary, the land of Mr. Tamas:

neo-nazi regime:
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/getting-punched-by-neo-nazis-in-hungary

nazi mass murderers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DauT5r34Gl4

3 upvotes
fz750
By fz750 (3 months ago)

and what does this have to to do with anything..?

So sad that a collection of pretty interesting images invoke such posts..

I think a lot of people here should simply be ashamed of their reaction (and posts..).

7 upvotes
greypixelz
By greypixelz (3 months ago)

I am simply presenting a "glimpse" of post-communist hungary in images, words and video. why is that not to your liking? this is a photography forum, is it not? enjoy the images of marching neo-nazi pseudo-armies, punched jews and shot gypsies in "civilized" hungary!

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Keith
By Keith (3 months ago)

Hungary? That is something else. The images above are from Romania.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Tavi
By Tavi (3 months ago)

I am born and raised in Timisoara, Romania and spent there the first three decades of my life, before coming to Canada thirteen years ago.

The pictures are representative for a bygone era. I have personally seen places, encountered situations and met people that would fit perfectly into this photo-reportage. The fact that a Hungarian photographer took them does not make them less relevant. He was just catering to the human interest to extremes. Like a paparazzo, but at the other end. He may have had a political agenda, but who really cares?

Fellow Romanians: I understand your frustration. It is annoying to see that so many stereotypes are alive and well fed. We all know a country and a people do not fit into few pictures, the first page of the Daily Mail or a Hollywood movie. Most of the people understand this. Those who don't, too bad for them.

Fellow Canadians, Americans, W. Europeans etc:
Just go there, see for yourself! You may be pleasantly surprised!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
thornton3562
By thornton3562 (3 months ago)

Great pics! I thought it was very insightful.

2 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

I can certainly respect much of the commentary here that is suspicious of motives or otherwise pointing out this work as reinforcing stereotypes relating to Romania. As all art is inherently subject to evaluation as a text, including codes, this form of criticism is fair game. As would be criticism that does not address such things e.g. isolated analysis of aesthetics, technique, etc. Personally, do I think this work was intended to be propaganda? No. And, though it is well worn territory, I do quite like the images (but don't care to elaborate as to my reasoning).

As for points made that similar, seemingly dire, photographs could be made in Detroit - true, they could be. In fact they are. As are those taken in parts of Appalachia, the South, and other regions most struggling economically. In each case, the viewer usually avoids extrapolating this condition to be emblematic of wider American circumstance.

4 upvotes
A Owens
By A Owens (3 months ago)

Great images. They really tell a story. But lets not judge as circumstances conspire and fortunes wane. If we look hard then the story is not so different from Detroit, the rust belt, North East of England and any number of places that are going through a change of fortunes.

4 upvotes
panpen
By panpen (3 months ago)

Romania is a fine country, if you don't live there.

1 upvote
Gavril Margittai
By Gavril Margittai (3 months ago)

Viorel,
You are right. One can only blame the lack of understanding of the undercurrents by the DP review staff. Having a Hungarian artist showing non flattering images about Romania, while at the same time Hungary has the same problems is not what anybody really needs at this point. I am sure they did not mean any harm.

Unfortunately decaying industrial buildings are not something specific to Romania. Many countries are plagued by this. Some not generally associated with communism or decay.

As I myself am fascinated by this subject, I have a quite few photos of decaying industrial buildings taken in San Francisco California. Once home to vibrant shipyards San Francisco and Oakland have long closed these, and all that is left are... (Will post some tonight when I get home)

2 upvotes
Gavril Margittai
By Gavril Margittai (3 months ago)

As promised:
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6467998878/photos/2815098/large-industrial-building-interior-in-decay

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6467998878/photos/2815097/heating-arrangements-2011

(or at my galleries @dpreview)

1 upvote
hannukur
By hannukur (3 months ago)

I think these pictures are good - even very good. You can tell the difference between a gear-oriented hobbyist and a skilful photographer by looking at photographic series. A photographer who knows what he/she is doing takes pictures of differing subjects and there is always coherence; one's signature style covering the series.
It's useless to create a photographic series including just about anything you see from an artistic point of view. I think this is a great documentaristic project covering narrow enough field - angle of view of a subject - to be called art.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
viorel
By viorel (3 months ago)

First of all, I'm Romanian. From artistic perspective, these pictures are good. Not astoundingly good, I have seen better though. But for this reason they are better fit on a dedicated photography artistic website. This is a technical website. Because of this, there are a lot of folks that view these not from pure artistic perspective but mixing with other rationals.
And as a rule, mixing art and politics is not good.
Also the intent matters most. I have read more about this guy, with this occasion and also seen his similarly subjected photos from HU (check his website and Koch gallery). Nothing to worry about, I don't think it is propaganda as some believe.
But it is also a true fact that sensitivities run high in the area, the reason for some reactions.
All the best and good shooting! Viorel

8 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

finally, a well balanced and insightful opinion. i'm sorry, but we'll have to cut off your internet access now.

1 upvote
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

I do appreciate your obviously well-considered commentary.

A few points of disagreement:

1) As an instructor of photography, I disagree that such content is somehow less appropriate on a largely technical site. Concepts serve to inform technique and technical means used. And even in the case of featuring analog means, this affords the opportunity to think of digital method via contrast. Further, this site is not exclusively a technical site; it is evolving and demonstrating efforts to present more diverse content. Some members like this, others do not.

2) "As a rule, mixing art and politics is not good." Much important art is political - art has for many centuries addressed the political, both directly and indirectly. As is the case in the art that I produce, I do think that you can make the distinction between work as some degree of meditation on culture and art that is overty political, particularly that which promotes political action; mine being the former. But both have very important roles in art. As does, of course, art with no relation to or concern for politics.

3 upvotes
viorel
By viorel (3 months ago)

Brad,Thanks for comment. I haven't said the content is less appropriate for users of technical forums, only that there are fewer people here eager to see these photos with a pure photographic eye because on a technical or general forum the people's main interests/objectives vary so adjacent/collateral discussions or divagations from the artistic side are more prone to appear. I would like to see dpreview evolving in the way you said, rather faster than slower, because personally, I do not think the technics is key element in photography.
Regarding your second point, for sure you are the better expert in art. Obviously since beginnings of humanity art and politics were intricate, art was used (often abused) by politics for the own agenda as well as art/culture is using politics to expand own ideas (but also quite often seen to undermine politics). My statement was primarily directed to the first part, i.e. where art was often abused by politics (as it happened in communism),

1 upvote
GaryJP
By GaryJP (3 months ago)

They are looking through political eyes, not technical eyes.

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

viorel - thank you for your elaboration. I think I misunderstood those points initially.

best to you,
Brad

1 upvote
mariuss
By mariuss (3 months ago)

The main question is here: Can you find such situations in Romania as showed here? Yes, you can find them, but you have to search them carefully. As tourist you will be amazed how diferet Romania is.
In my opinion the title must be called: "Tamas Dezso SEEKS glimpse into post-Communist Romania." and nobody will be offended.

3 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (3 months ago)

Exactly. This is your typical Hungarian's anti-Romanian propaganda piece. I spent a few months in Hungary last year, and I can tell you, had seen a whole lot worse conditions.

3 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

I don't know about other borders, but a lot of Hungarians think that Transilvania, the north-west of Romania should be theirs. And these people would use any means to make Romania or Romanians look bad, including these kind of pictures, and posted not just anywhere, but in a gallery in San Francisco, and these pictures showed up in the dpreview site! I wonder who's the staff person and what's his/her name. This is not an issue about what's over the fence between countries in EU, it's a territorial dispute. How many EU countries have a whole chunk of them as a territorial dispute?

3 upvotes
shroomer
By shroomer (3 months ago)

I have no idea why these nice pictures generated such a huge amount of comments. I do understand the problems of romanians, who live on stolen territories and are happy with all its stolen resources for what others worked and fought for a thousand years, I just do not get why they are mad at an art photographer...

1 upvote
sergiu_mihu
By sergiu_mihu (3 months ago)

Definitely not relevant! It's so nice for outside people to pick whatever suits their needs and their own impressions and say: "This is exactly what's going on."

Let's just say - where's the infrastructure in the first image?

And for the author being hungarian, more reasons for him (I assume) to show the worst in Romania :).

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

look at it this way: if he makes Romania look bad, then maybe the Hungarian Trianon revisionists will rethink their position.

also, these photos support this article (Romanian language only): http://www.timesnewroman.ro/politic/11229-ungurii-nu-mai-cumpara-ardealul-e-second-hand-si-stim-pe-mana-cui-a-fost

as for the author being Hungarian: during the summer it's full of Hungarian-registered cars in Transylvania. what if the plan is for them to be the only tourists in this part of the country?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rosin
By Rosin (3 months ago)

I'm not a Romanian and I don't particularly like Romania (for reasons that are beyond this topic), but I must say that these pictures deeply offend me on a personal level. This exposition would make sense if the pictures presented here were shown side by side with the pictures of the communism-era Romania. If that was done, the message would have a completely different meaning. It also obvious that some of the pictures were carefully directed, and that makes it truly disgusting.

2 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (3 months ago)

One bleeping paragraph of introduction and with his commentary, and you can't even be bothered to read it, but of course you are "deeply offended". Read the damn intro! It's not that hard.

4 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

Again, I want to be respectful and acknowledge that I do not know all of the cultural context here, but "disgusting"? My intuition is telling me that such a term is a bridge too far. The degree of outrage here seems to have outgrown anything I could conceive of finding some offense to in the photos.

2 upvotes
piticoto
By piticoto (3 months ago)

dpreview staff should know better about political scene of the world before picking someone's photographic work in the neighboring country because "a picture is wort a thousand words". Tamas Dezso was documenting since 2011, with pictures in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was paid to do this work. Who paid him had a purpose and the photographer needed to know what the "employer" wanted/wants. Or if he wasn't paid then he had a nationalist agenda.

3 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

dear US DPReview staff: as you can see, we here in the EU really love each other across our national borders, in the true European spirit you probably heard about.
I, for one, would love to see other similar articles. Allow me to offer some suggestions:
- german photographer documents the decay of the Polish industry.
- Polish photographer documents the lives of the homeless in Germany, Ukraine and Russia
- Serbian photographer discovers the live of a low income Albanian family
- Romanian photographer of roma ethnicity documents the lives of Britain's Forbes top 100 families.
- French photographer/comedian documents the eating habits of other European nations.

13 upvotes
MMS
By MMS (3 months ago)

That would be a tremendous!!! I would love to see that.

1 upvote
Rbrt
By Rbrt (3 months ago)

Well said, agentul!

1 upvote
davidrm
By davidrm (3 months ago)

While it is really nice to see such excellent, poetic photographic work featured on DPReview, and I really commend and thank the editors, it's also crushingly depressing to read some of the comments here. What is it about digital photography that attracts such a fantastically high proportion of morons?

0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

i believe some commentators pointed out that the shots were taken using film. so maybe it's film photography and all those chemical fumes...

besides, the "Romania is a decaying relic of the tragic communist experiment" topic has been covered so much in the past 25 years that people are moving beyond the "hey, cool, we're in the news" point to the "again with that?" attitude.

also, calling other people "morons" over the internet hardly makes you any better.

2 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

more decaying industrial settings, please! in shades of brown, if possible.

2 upvotes
Resom
By Resom (3 months ago)

Good idea. The best thing is - he can stay in Hungary.

5 upvotes
Mihut Ovidiu
By Mihut Ovidiu (3 months ago)

These are some pretty good pictures. Unfortunately these photos were posted under this title only for purely propagandistic purposes and suffer from an obvious distortion of the truth. They are not representative of today's Romania. It will be enough to change the title of the article and they will be viewed only as good pictures.One suggestion would be: People and places: frozen in time!

7 upvotes
AndreyT
By AndreyT (3 months ago)

What? "Post-Communist Romaina"? In 2014? Pray tell, where did he find "post-communist" Romania after 2011, as the intro states?

No, my silly little pumpkins, this is not "post-Communist Romaina". This is capitalist Romania, EU member Romania, NATO Romania that you have in these pictures.

Although, on the second thought, I do see a rather fitting reference to Communism in these pictures. The only thing "Communist" that is probably still left in that country is the proper understanding among people of what's right and what's wrong. And that, unfortunately, does not play well in Capitalism. That is your last obstacle on that glorious path. Sorry, my dear people of Romania, if you want to live the "American Dream" you will have to learn to steal, to murder, to rape and, most importantly, to smile while you are doing all that. And learn to repeat the "we are doing the right thing" mantra - it helps to kill the remains of your human conscience, if repeated a sufficient number of times.

11 upvotes
Gintaras_J
By Gintaras_J (3 months ago)

"--if you want to live the "American Dream" you will have to learn to steal, to murder, to rape and, most importantly, to smile while you are doing all that.-"
Oh my God! My advise is to read history (Russia history from beginning of 20st century at first) carefully (and not from "Made in USSR" books!).

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (3 months ago)

if you want to live the "American Dream" you will have to learn to steal, to murder, to rape and, most importantly, to smile while you are doing all that. And learn to repeat the "we are doing the right thing" mantra

you've just described life in communism. the mantra was a little different, but still in use today: "it's impossible to live honestly, everybody's doing it, why shouldn't i?"

5 upvotes
Resom
By Resom (3 months ago)

"Sorry, my dear people of Romania, if you want to live the "American Dream" you will have to learn to steal, to murder, to rape and, most importantly, to smile while you are doing all that. And learn to repeat the "we are doing the right thing" mantra"

It works also for Germany. That means ... we are all equal!

One world, one mind! Hurrah!

1 upvote
Olgierd
By Olgierd (3 months ago)

I remember one of the lesson back from the days I was in the in the elementary school late 70's:

- "Who is your idol and why Lenin?".

-

3 upvotes
Rosin
By Rosin (3 months ago)

Well said, Andrey, and very true. Those were exactly my thoughts when I saw these pictures. The "democracy" and "freedom" never looked so gloomy.

1 upvote
Rosin
By Rosin (3 months ago)

"Oh my God! My advise is to read history (Russia history from beginning of 20st century at first) carefully (and not from "Made in USSR" books!)."
And how the USSR books are different from British or American books? Both promote their own agenda and none tell the whole truth. For the complete story, you have to read both and then make your own conclusions. That's the only way and that's exactly what people on both sides of the fence are refusing to do, blindly believing that their side of the story is the real truth. How naive...

3 upvotes
Bogart99
By Bogart99 (3 months ago)

Thought I'd fill in some of your knowledge gaps.
You might find this shocking, but actually, most Americans don't steal, rape, and murder.
So now you can take this information back to your little "America haters club", and enlighten the rest of the guys, because we wouldn't want you all to seem stupid or anything.

0 upvotes
Sirandar
By Sirandar (3 months ago)

America .... been there quite a few times .... missed the steal, rape and murder parts ..... I am pretty sure I could find all of the above if I looked around enough, but that is pretty much true of every nation.

Generally, births and deaths aren't all that pretty to watch .... In these pictures it seems hard to tell which parts are birth and death.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
AndreyT
By AndreyT (3 months ago)

@Gintaras_J: I read a great many of the books available today. Moreover, I had the fortune to speak to the very people who made history that you could only learn about from the books (if you are a reader, of course). And I can say with that authority that the books today fall into two large categories: "Made in USSR" and "Made in Nazi Germany" with a very small selection of what does not fall into either of the two. If you want to be taken seriously with you knowledge of history, you begin with books from "Made in USSR" category. That just how it works everywhere in the Civilized World.

Meanwhile, you sound like a stereotypical example of someone who was brought up on American propaganda, which is universally known to based directly on the works of Dr. Goebbels. And it hasn't added much to what the good Dr. wrote in the middle of the last century. When it comes to learning history, it is not a good start, I can tell you that.

3 upvotes
AndreyT
By AndreyT (3 months ago)

@Sirandar: Well "missed" is probably the key word here.

Consider this: you have been in a country that today holds the dubious honor of being the most murderous regime in the history of human kind. And yet you didn't see any murders. How can one explain that paradox? Don't ask me. Ask yourself.

Maybe you looked in the wrong direction? Maybe you had some sort of pink-colored glasses over your eyes? Or maybe someone simply worked over your head with that "we are doing the right thing" mantra to the point where you won't "see" murder even if it bites you in the rear?

I'm not really the one who can answer that question.

2 upvotes
Bogart99
By Bogart99 (3 months ago)

@AndreyT who said: "you have been in a country that today holds the dubious honor of being the most murderous regime in the history of human kind".

You talk as if you are a scholar who knows the facts, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact is, on the list of most homicides per 100,000 people during the 2010s, the US ranks 35th with 4.75, while Russia ranks 24th with 12.5.
It seems your 'facts' are just wild imaginings you cook up in your head to support the way you want to feel. When one does this, he risks being seen as an uneducated man, governed by his emotions rather than logic.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
AndreyT
By AndreyT (3 months ago)

@Bogart99: Er... What? What are you talking about? What does internal homicide rates have to with the topic of crimes commuted by murderous regimes against mankind?

3 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

AndreyT:
This is not the proper venue for a fully fleshed out discussion of history or political theory, but I am curious about some of your assertions. I am an academic; admittedly, my field is art and art theory (with primary focus on post-structuralist and postmodernist thought and methodology), so I am not an expert on politics but have explored many veins of philosophy. Could you please explain, avoiding as best as you can rhetorical incitement, your calculus in thinking America to be "the most murderous regime in the history of the human kind"? Also, are you claiming (you use the word "universally") that there is a scholarly censensus that the U.S. propaganda apparatus is directly tied to Goebbels and/or the Nazi methodology? If so, might you name the figures who have supported this opinion so I may research them?

1 upvote
Raist3d
By Raist3d (3 months ago)

Shot #1- amazing.

0 upvotes
ArcaSwiss
By ArcaSwiss (3 months ago)

I read he shoots with Phase One back and Schneider lenses

0 upvotes
jeangenie
By jeangenie (3 months ago)

Good images(mostly), though nothing new. I've seen this project many times before; although most of the time it was 6x7 film, and this looks like digital. Either that, or he didn't take full advantage of the tonal range of his film in the outdoor daylight images.

Either way, he doesn't need to worry about 'recording and preserving' the Romanian way of life. In the last twenty years, there have been hundreds of other photographers that decided to 'go photograph Gypsies/the Romani' long before he began in 2011, so I thing the subject is pretty well preserved.

0 upvotes
Anubias
By Anubias (3 months ago)

Indeed, the photographs do represent only a "glimpse" in today's Romania. There is much more (both good and bad) missing in this selection.

I appreciate some of these photographs for their message and quality. However this selection does represent only half of the story that should have been told.

Indeed, Eastern-Europe is very much behind the west economically, but not at their only fault. Let's not forget the fact that these countries experienced WWII (with all the human and material destruction it meant) followed by 50 years of bad management and social injustice that the glorious communism brought (btw: a social theory developed in the West).

Now, to try to explain a bit the flame that this article raised: let's not forget that until not long ago there were wars and territorial exchange between Ro and Hu. Some of the post-war mentality still exists in those countries which is exploited ruthlessly in both countries by their ruling party coalitions. And it resonates quite well with the population in times of economical upheaval, unfortunately.

The reason some of the romanian members of DPR became so inflamed by this set of pictures it's that they are strengthening the clichés and prejudices towards Romania.

Considering the recent media scandal in the UK regarding mandatory opening of their job market to latest EU newcomers, it might explain the hiper sensitivity on this matter.

Dear romanians: we are not all that stupid and missinformed to be completely ignorant on the matter. As mentioned, all countries have people and places they are proud or ashamed of. So relax and try to see this for what it is: a photography article.

Flaming doesn't help anyone, especially your argument. On the contrary, keeping cool and objective will earn you more respect.

PS: I am of mixed romanian-hungarian ethnicity leaving for the past 15 years in Finland. I wonder how many people on this site can claim the same. Let's give an example on how EU can cure Europe of it warmongering past.

8 upvotes
Anubias
By Anubias (3 months ago)

Double-posting... I removed the copy.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Nicholas Pitt
By Nicholas Pitt (3 months ago)

just when you think you are going to drown in all the noise surrounding photography these days someone goes out and takes some truly gutsy, heartfelt, beautiful and real images - kudos and thank you Tamas!

2 upvotes
PVMcKay
By PVMcKay (3 months ago)

Tamas, these are beautiful, haunting images, rendered with skill, insight and sensitivity. Thank so so much for your informative, and creatively inspiring work!

2 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

The wider polemic here - accuracy of representation - is, to some degree, always present in photojournalism. Certainly there are circumstances in which a photograph fails to illicit controversy, but many do - particularly in the interpretation of potential layers of subtext. This issue of representation has for decades been a rich vein of academic discourse. Can the photographer be an impartial agent in the creation of a photo? Further, would this actually be a desired condition? If we appreciate that the photographer must make editorial decisions relating to framing, exposure dynamics, and the like, is not photography inherently subjective - the photograph a constructed reality, relating to, but ultimately some degree removed from, an objective world?

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (3 months ago)

Once, in response to criticisms about claims that his female characters are embodiments of female stereotypes, the filmmaker David Lynch stated something to the effect that each such character is a individual and represents nothing specific outside that. Certainly, it would be naive to claim that he is not playing with archetypes of all kinds, in this case female, but I think his point is a fair one. And, this is, of course, fiction/cinema - different from media making claims demonstrative of the real, as is the case here with these photos. Worlds different or perhaps not as different as that.

Although they are in many ways not groundbreaking, I enjoy these photos. But I do so from the standpoint of them being suspensions atop a reality, rather than a reality photographed. And in this way they are not all that different than cinema.

2 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (3 months ago)

If anyone tried to read the intro to the photos, there would be no outrage. I quote:

"In his own words, the purpose of the project is to 'render a world which may disappear forever imperceptibly and very rapidly due to the transitional nature of the [Communist] era'"

In other words, this is a world that is disappearing now (rapidly -- in his own words), in the post-Communist times. In other words, this is NOT a portrait of Romania today. This is a portrait of the disappearing remnants of the communist times.

Very nice photographs, btw.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (3 months ago)

Transitional nature of Communism too right they are all moving to the UK Land of the free

1 upvote
Der Steppenwolf
By Der Steppenwolf (3 months ago)

backayonder
Really ? "Land of the free" ? Since your government is watching and listening in on most of the worlds communications and UK being probably the worlds most CCTV ridden country I would really be careful when using words "free" and UK in the same sentence. When I was in London last time there were more cameras on street then people for gods sake!

17 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (3 months ago)

UK land of the free !! Ha ha ha !

The only reason some poor romanians come to the UK is the high pay/hour worked. That's about it. As for the rest, Der Steppenwolf said it nicely, big brother is watching your every move ;) More like land of the racists. You invented some novel "free" structures like apartheid in S.A. and the black labour camps of the early U.S.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (3 months ago)

high pay? The govt doesn't even enforce the Minimum Wage law, 3 prosecutions in the last 7 years.

0 upvotes
PVMcKay
By PVMcKay (3 months ago)

All Trolls, please feel free to take your self serving comments elsewhere.

2 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (3 months ago)

You really don't get English humour do you?

0 upvotes
Resom
By Resom (3 months ago)

English humour doesn´t work will in the internet, like sarcastic comments or ironic editorials. ;)

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (3 months ago)

Beautiful work. Thanks.

1 upvote
twostep
By twostep (3 months ago)

I find these photos mediocre at best. And 2012?! This was 90's news at best. And what does "The Flooded Village of Geamana" have to do with "post communist Romania"? Dpreview would fare far better by picking really interesting photographs of this beautiful country. Take for instance the Danube Delta which hosts hundreds of bird species or the beautiful baroque and art nouveau downtowns.
Why doesn't Mr. Deszo take photographs of his own (post communist) country? I'm sure he can pick better subjects there.

2 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (3 months ago)

Of course you do. BTW, there is nothing more boring than bird pictures. This place needs another bird picture like they need longer time frames to get reviews out.

3 upvotes
Total comments: 238
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