Social documentary photography

2020

Children of poverty

The influence of communism left an eternal mark on the vast majority of people living in Transylvania area of Romania. Between 1980 and 1989 Nicolae Ceausescu led the country into an incredible deep poverty.  Two or three decades after the fall of the Communist regime the poverty caused by the Ceausescu regime in many places feel in Transylvania. My series is the work of ten years, and presents children who live in deep poverty in diverse Transylvanian hovels and slums of villages and towns where the unemployment, un-schooling, and uneducated rate is very high. For majority of this people the survival from one day to the next it is a big challenge, which process begins as childhood. They are pushed completely to the edge of the society. In these places, people seemingly put up with their fate.

The boy and his friends found the playground for themselves in the wreckage of an upturned car. He lost his leg in accident. In this hovel very few children attend school, they only have up to four classes. Transylvania, 2020

In the darkest age of Romanian communism in the mid-eighties in Anina city it was built Romania’s largest miner block of flats quarter, named Orasul Nou (New City). A few years after the fall of the communist regime, the anthracite mine closed. The working-class families who settled here from elsewhere soon disappeared from the Orasul Nou city, leaving their homes forever. Poverty awaited those who remained. In 2015, instead of the former “Orasul Nou”, it was a slum, with some children on its playground. Anina, Transylvania, 2015

Filled with joy, smiling, a little boy runs in the slum of Balan. This place is his everything. He plays here every day and he says it’s the best place in the world for him. The Ceausescu regime bringst here thousands of miners and workers in new housing built in the city. But the mining town that flourished in communism was abandoned by many after the change of regime as the copper mine was permanently closed. In 2011, instead of the once thriving housing estate, there was a slum. Balan, Transylvania, 2011

Children in the window of a house in one dilapidated hovel. For them, a mouthful of bread evokes joy, curiosity and admiration. The people in this hovel live in an absolutely incredible poverty. Majority of the village residents they have up to three classes. The others are absolutely illiterate. For this people the survival from one day to the next it is a big challenge. Gheorgheni region, Transylvania, 2015

Simon eating together with the goat Cuci. The animal weakened from a couple of days, so the boy took with him into in the hut. Simon, takes care of goats instead of school near they hovel. Transylvania, 2018

Alex is mentally disabled, and he spends the whole day with his down syndrome brother Gyurika, and takes care of him with love. Their mother, who was pregnant when I was there, tell to me about it is very difficult to live from one day to the next here in this hovel, and their life is very hard but they still happy. Transylvania, 2018

The crumbling house in which the children live in extremely poverty in inhumane conditions has been punctured in several places. Still, the mother of the family is relieved to have at least this much. Children do not go to school. Transylvania, 2016

Virág living in terrible poverty. The mother is at home with the smaller brothers. The father is day laborer. The residents of the hovel is unemployed, some of them try to sustain themselves and their families from day-labor work. Transylvania, 2018

Two children of a family with seven children in the village of Hetea in Covasna county. Most families living in deep poverty also have five, seven, ten children. At the last census, more than 95% of the population declared themselves as gypsies. In Hetea the indifference and passivity reigns. The majority of the people is unemployed, other try to sustain themselves and their families from day-labor work. There are very few children in the school for only four classes. The people living here have no other alternative, they know no other way of life. Hetea, Transylvania, 2017

On Christmas Day, Bianka cuts firewood in the courtyard of they hovel. Transylvania, 2015

2019

Home

A moment in the life of a family who live in extreme poverty. The horse, which is a “treasure” for this family, is treated almost like a family member. He is a sure source of income, because they use him in many agricultural jobs that they undertake. The father works as a day laborer. The mother is at home with the children. But their life is terribly difficult. Transylvanian area of Romania

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Homeward

The goatherd bought a goat at a fair, but it was difficult to navigate the animal on the way home as he was not familiar with the road. The picture was taken in Transylvania, Romania.

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Radu and Luminita are day laborers in Transylvania area of Romania

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Horse washing

Horse washing with rainwater in Transylvania.

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Nomadic gypsies

The nomadic gypsies roam in all the country, except during the winter. This people live in chariot-wagon. The chariot is their life. For majority of this people the survival from one day to the next it is a big challenge. They are pushed completely to the edge of the society. Transylvania area of Romania.

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Firewood

István pulls firewood to home. The winter months are very hard for him. He live in a deep poverty. Transylvania, Romania

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The ill dog

The shepherd puppy became ill and could not walk. Alexandru the shepherd, warmed him up in his coat, till the vet arrived. Transylvania, Romania

2018

Domi and Tibi

Domi and Tibi live in an incredible poverty in the suburb of Targu Mures city, Transylvania. There’s no water, no electricity, no heating in the crumbling room. The cats are the soul mates of Domi and Tibi. When I was there in December 2018 they was very afraid because the authorities want to evicted soon from there place. I was in this place at the occasion of Christmas. Next year in 2019 December I went to visit him. I received information from neighbours that Domi passed away in November. The misery took him away, he died … And Tibi left the place. He went somewhere…

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Miserables

Anna and Lajos live in an incredible poverty in an abandoned small bus stop in the suburb of Targu Mures city, Transylvania. They’ve been married for ten years. They said there were some problems in the past but now they are happy again. Their children were taken to a child home by the authorities…

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Simion and Cuci

Simion together with the goat Cuci. The animal weakened from a couple of days, so the boy took with him into in the hut. Simon, takes care of goats instead of school near they hovel. Transylvania area of Romania

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Virág

Virág living in terrible poverty. The mother is at home with the smaller brothers. The father is day laborer. The residents of the hovel is unemployed, some of them try to sustain themselves and their families from day-labor work. Transylvania / Romania.

2017

Resting

Norbert and his sister, Erika, work as cowherds in Transylvania. Erika has no choice but to carry her daughter, Mirela, to work every day. The three of them spend their days – from early morning till late night – in this small clearing tending twenty grazing cows, while working for a pittance.

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Fate / Ibolya

 Ibolya at Christmas time near the dilapidated hovel where she lives in the region of Transylvania. As her parents are unemployes, the family lives in extreme poverty.

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Lamb slaughter / The joiners’s workshop

A few days before Easter in a village in Transylvania, lambs are slain in a joiner’s workshop. According to local tradition, sheep farmers slaughter and sell part of their lambs to provide the ingredients for various lamb dishes prepared during the holidays.

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Fortune teller gypsy girl. Transylvania 2017

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Beggars

Ida, Eszti and Hajni – Mother and her two children came from Olt valley in Miercurea Ciuc city for medicine to the little girl, because she was ill. Their money was not enough and they began to beg. I made the picture near the main auto-bus station of Miercurea Ciuc city, Transylvania.

2016

István and Lajos

István and Lajos – father and son, live in an incredible poverty in an abandoned small bus stop in a suburb of Targu Mures city, Transylvania. They said to me about it is very difficult to live from one day to the next, and their life is very hardcore, but they are happy.

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Home in Balkan

A family who live in deep poverty they brought the horse into the house as a storm was approaching outside, to not lest lightning strike. Transylvania / Romania

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Admiration

The little boy watches his mother with admiration. The family live in a deep poverty. Transylvania / Romania

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Transylvanian coal burners

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2015

Life in the mud

Snapshot of a gypsy dwelling. Transylvania / Romania

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A mouthful of bread

Children in the window of a house in one dilapidated hovel. For them, a mouthful of bread evokes joy, curiosity and admiration. The people in this hovel live in an absolutely incredible poverty. Majority of the village residents they have up to three classes. The others are absolutely illiterate. For this people the survival from one day to the next it is a big challenge. Transylvania / Romania

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The chariot

Children from Gypsy community at Valea Rece, Targu Mures, Transylvania.

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Playground in Balkan

In the darkest age of Romanian communism in the mid-eighties in Anina city it was built Romania’s largest miner block of flats quarter, named Orasul Nou (New City). A few years after the fall of the communist regime, the anthracite mine closed. The working-class families who settled here from elsewhere soon disappeared from the Orasul Nou quarter, leaving their homes forever. Poverty awaited those who remained. After 25 years of the falling of the communist regime … this was the sight!

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Calf slaughter gabor gipsy. Transylvania.

2014

Faces in window

Gypsy boys in the window of their house. This emotional full photograph I take in one little gypsy haunt in Transylvania area of Romania.

Father and daughter

I took both photos in the same place. The people from this gypsy hovel live in an absolutely incredible poverty. Majority of the village residents they have up to three classes. The others are absolutely uneducated. Transylvania area of Romania

2012

Miner cities / Jiu Valley

In Ceausescu’s communist Romania the Jiu Valley was heavily industrialized. The main activity was the coal mining. After the fall of the Communism in Romania (1989) majority of the mines were closed.

2011

Balázs and Suba

In this fabulous homestead place, which is situated in one of the hidden nooks of the Harghita Mountains, here the time is stopped. The picture presents uncle Balázs who is resident of this fabulous homestead. He is 75 year old, and still lives here, far from the villages and cities. But not alone … with their best soul-spiritual friend, who is none other than Suba the cur sheep dog. Transylvania, Romania

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Texas of Balan

Balan was one of Romania’s most important centers for copper mining, but its mines are no longer operational. The communist regime of Ceausescu industrialized the city at high speed. They installed thousands of workers, miners mainly from across the Carpathians, in the new housing estates built in the city. But the mining town that flourished in communism was abandoned by many after the change of regime as the copper mine was permanently closed. In 2011, I could see something other than the once thriving housing estate. A dilapidated part of town called: Texas

2010

Klári

Two-year-old Klári lives with her parents and three brothers and sisters in a small adobe brick house along the Tarnava Mica river, Transylvania. Two years ago, they lost nearly everything in the devastating spring flood…

2008

The woodcutter and his children

The picture depicts Bela Benedek, a lumberjack and some of his children at Zetea in Harghita County, Romania. The family hardly manages to ensure their existence. The father spends his days working in the forest, the mother had to stay home to raise their nine children. Shortly after the picture was taken, Bela Benedek hung himself in the attic of their small house.

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Death zone – Copsa Mica

Copsa Mica  has a dark background.  It was one of  Europe’s most polluted towns in the 1990’s and remains the most polluted town in Romania to this day (2008). During the socialist regime the facts about pollution in Copsa Mica were kept secret. After the fall of the Communist regime in Romania (1989 December) in the early nineties, industry in Copsa Mica was in crisis, and the soot factory was closed in 1993. At that time some of the workers left the town, the blocks of flats were abandoned. In 1998 a company bought the Copsa Mica smelting works and the metal factory. In 2008 the pollution was more less like before 1989, but it was present. In 2008, many people in the city suffer from lead poisoning, skin and lung cancer. Doctor experts showed a large portion of young children have been found to develop lead poisoning. Child mortality here is the highest in Europe. The majority of the workers and their families were settled here during the Communist era by Ceausescu from “beyond the Carpathians”. From 1989 the population of the town decreased by some 30 per cent.

Tearful eyes / The boy from Copsa Mica

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2001

The church keeper

At the end of the 1980’s when Romania lived the deepest communist period, Ceausescu – the Romanian dictator – decided to destroy a little village in Transylvania area, to build here a big water reservoir. In 1988 the village named Bezidu Nou it was flooded. The village was permanently submerged. The residents left the place, and other people from village who could not bear this out spiritually – committed suicide. The ruined church and its tower were visible over the years depending on the position of the water. In 2014 the church tower collapsed, and the symbol of the village has disappeared forever.

Bezidu Nou 2001

Bezidu Nou 2010

Bezidu Nou 2017

The dramatic fated deadly village it was under water 29th years continuously. In 2017 February a support pillar of the dam has failed. The authorities have decided to lower the lake water to repair the dam. In Easter Saturday this was the sight: a boy practices to jump on a horse from the ruined catholic church, which church it was 29th years under the water …

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Made in Transylvania