Featured Photographer: Anna Vladi (Russia, Germany)
Born in Russia, but based in Berlin , our dear friend Anna Vladi spends some considerable amount of time, traveling around the world and exploring different cultures. She also never commences on a journey without her camera, in this case, “Olympus OM-10,” as she says, “with different films, mostly expired Fuji 200.”
In October 2017, Anna visited Romania, a country nestled in a bed of Slavic nations. As she writes us from Athens, Anna also remarks that she spent two weeks in the capital of Bucharest and only twelve hours on the coast of the Black Sea, paying a visit to the beautiful seaside city of Constanta.
In both these cities, Anna had managed to capture some stunning shots, with many photos revealing details of Romanian communist-era buildings and architecture. Some of the buildings depicted are residential developments, and some are also administrative facilities and centers.
Many experts commenting the architecture in Romania that appeared during the communist period (which had lasted from 1947 until 1989) say that urban planning back then, particularly in the case of Bucharest, was abused for tailoring specific political messages and agendas.
Communist-style buildings had started to multiply especially during the 1960s, and since, towers of concrete that bear uniformed look, have become an indivisible part of the urban realms of cities such as Bucharest. The communist urban planning of residential areas had also intentionally aimed at accommodating residents in high-rise apartment block districts. That would fasten a process of homogenization in society, which, in the end, was to help the “evolution of the human.” Supposedly that being an echo of the Futurist manifesto, an evolution that aimed to transform the modern-day human into an alienated being with a machine-heart.
Employing such manner of urban planning back in the communist days had also meant blanching essential aspects of the Romanian national identity and memory of the past. It had all greatly helped diminished the elegance of the city known in history as “the Little Paris ” or “Paris on the east of Europe.” It was still that city, but after the communist architecture plans–considerably changed.
Romanians nowadays are dusting off their communist past, but as the photography selection shows, traces of it are omnipresent and still vivid part of the Romanian urbanscapes.
If Bucharest resembles the administrative heart of Romania, then little over two hours drive from the capital, is Constanta, that is an important commercial center nestled on the coastline of the Black Sea. This city is also counted as per the fourth largest port in Europe, coming only after the cities of Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Marseille.
A signature building here, lurking on the seaside, is Constanta Casino. It was built in Art Nouveau style and according to the plans of architect Daniel Renard. The building was inaugurated in 1911, and today it resembles one of the most prominent historical monuments in the whole country.
The weather is still good even as late autumn is well approaching. People can again put on their bathing suits and enjoy a swim in the wild waters of the Black Sea, all of it giving a more poetic sensibility of the entire place, which, here and there, is dotted with abandoned edifices, ghost-like buildings, and unfinished construction projects. At some points, remnants of concrete structures once planned to serve as plateaus for jumping and plunging into the water, still try to claim parts of the coastline. Life goes on as normally ever after.
Some friends of Anna had commented that her photos look as if they were taken out from a background of an anime movie. Share your impressions in the comments below:
We also thought to remind you of The Dim City – the photography work of Erina Bogoeva shedding light on parts of Skopje that sleep in the shadows