“I like to work on documentary topics that I discover through personal encounters. By listening to the ones close to me and taking their thoughts and concerns into account it feels natural to derive at certain subjects, such as the meeting with Matei which led me to the Romanian gold towns. It started as a photo-documentary in which I questioned how these places were shaped by the gold mining industry and how their future could look like. I tried to stay most of the time with locals with whom I connected through Couchsurfing website. In Deva, a city located in the south of the gold mining area, I was invited to stay at Irina’s house. One day after dinner with her family I showed my pictures from the first trip at the big flat screen in their living room. “These pictures have no value for me”, her mother said furiously. “They are a simple negative impression: remote, filthy, run-down…” It was difficult to hear that because I was their guest, and I felt it was true. From that point, I realized I came with having a preconceived image of this Romanian region and I was only looking for confirmation.
This confrontation was the turning point in the project. I realized that the way I photographed was mainly based on preconceptions about Romania that I got by being exposed to the western media coverage and photo stories. From that moment my focus shifted to an exploration of various ways I could represent the life of the people from the Apuseni Mountains.”