Gazes and Faces: Romanian Portraits by Adrian Cherciu

3rd February 2011

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For one week in October 2010, Adrian Cherciu, a keen photographer and founder of the Romanian community portal ROMANi ONLiNE, has wandered across Romania with English photographer Mike Sweeney in tow, in search for the ineffable Romanian spirit. They have found some of that spirit distilled in more than one location along the more than 1,700 kilometres route through the country, but the real essence of the places could be best read in the faces of the people they encountered.

The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre is happy to present a special selection of portraits to give you a flavour of the trip, but also to offer a glance at the people (and in one instance, a horse) who go about their daily lives without making the news, trying to make the best of the times of crisis we are all living through. The first thirteen images in this gallery are exhibited at the Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre in London. Woodcutters, monks, a forester, a souvenir seller, an old lady knitting woollen socks to make ends meet they are all part of the cast of characters. An unskilled camera will reflect the reality in front of its lenses in a cold light. However, in these pictures, the photographer shows a high degree of empathy with his subjects, managing to imbue each image with a spark of the life force of those portrayed. To be sure, the characters are all representatives of a rural way of living, but this is not a romanticised look at life in the country.

This collection may well become sooner rather than later an archive of typologies and occupations that one day will disappear for good, even from Romania. We would also like to present to you a larger selection of the photos taken by Adrian during his trip to Romania, including more portraits but also some amazing landscapes - see below.