A few years ago, a journalist named Tamas Dezso started photographing rural Romania. He decided to create a series entitled Notes for an Epilogue in an effort to show the rest of the world what is becoming of Romania in a post communist world.
The Soviet Union crumbled in 1989. Now, 25 years later, this is what much of the Romanian countryside looks like in the wake of the fallen empire.
“Symbolic buildings and former factories are disappearing and villages are becoming deserted at an incredible speed, which urges their documentation,” Dezso says. “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.”
Many people of the countryside try to hold on to old traditions and ways of life. However, the unemployment rate is extremely high and villages are depopulating. There are considerable amounts of people who live as gypsies and scavengers, aiming to take what they can to survive. Derelict buildings fill empty villages, traditions such as the dancing bear above are fading away, and yet some of the older traditions remain. Rural Romanians still make clothing by hand, the still have long discussions after dinner in the evenings, and continue to preserve and use objects for as long as they can. These values seem to be lost in western society, as if we traded them in for modernization.
These photos are both haunting and awe-inspiring. They accurately depict a portion of society that is stuck in limbo between old and new. Dezsos took these shots over the course of 30 trips to Romania beginning in 2011. Unfortunately, the disintegration is still ongoing and therefore the documentation continues as well.