Maramures

 

Maramures is a geographical region in the north of Romania. Described as “the last living example of medieval life in Europe,” Maramures has been frozen in time by the immutability of fifty years of communism, and has thus attracted countless photographers, filmmakers, anthropologists and journalists. In 2015, on my first visit to the region, I questioned by the locals: “Have you travelled here — like the others — to simply capture our vanishing way of life before it’s gone forever?”

The region has inspired ethnographic albums redolent of the clichéd portraits of peasants in petticoats, horse drawn sleighs, garden fences, and grassy laneways. Tirelessly contemplating how I might represent a place with such a loaded backdrop, I found myself drawn to a series of haystacks that frequented the visual landscape. By focusing on the haystacks, I felt that I could indirectly represent the locals coexistence with the landscape itself and their continued non-mechanical methods of maintaining it.