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Photo-Essay Bucharest

By Caroline Lessire

Bucharest

Bucharest is a city of contrasts. A jumbled-up world, a wild architectural mix, and a Balkan atmosphere that makes for a colourful, loud and lively city. It’s a universe unto itself that functions according to its own rules. With buildings of architectural value, abandoned monuments and magnificent churches right beside sex shops and ill-famed night clubs.

Go for a walk through this urban patchwork and you’ll find it full of surprises – and tiring. You end up either falling in love with the place for good or hating it forever. There's no middle ground. If you manage to understand this city, you may come to see Bucharest as an expression of unbridled freedom. Then again, walking down its streets, you can’t help feeling it’s an unloved city in which each generation tears down what the previous one built, raising their new buildings on the ruins of the past.
 
  • 1 A woman walking past a historic building in the city centre. It is very common to see tangles of electrical wires and cables in the streets of Bucharest. © Caroline Lessire
    A woman walking past a historic building in the city centre. It is very common to see tangles of electrical wires and cables in the streets of Bucharest.
  • Giant billboards are part of the capital’s urban landscape. © Caroline Lessire
    Giant billboards are part of the capital’s urban landscape. The absence of urban planning and heritage conservation, coupled with corruption in the construction industry, led to Bucharest being nominated for the 2016 World Monuments Watch list of cities whose heritage is endangered.
  • Giant billboards are part of the capital’s urban landscape. © Caroline Lessire
    Giant billboards are part of the capital’s urban landscape. The absence of urban planning and heritage conservation, coupled with corruption in the construction industry, led to Bucharest being nominated for the 2016 World Monuments Watch list of cities whose heritage is endangered.
  • Bridesmaids at a wedding in Cismigiu Park © Caroline Lessire
    Bridesmaids at a wedding in Cismigiu Park. Considered one of Bucharest’s most beautiful public gardens, at 17 hectares, it is the green lungs of the city. Beautifully restored and preserved, it is the perfect place to get away from the intense summer heat or to go ice skating on the frozen lake in winter. The park features lots of facilities for families including playgrounds, ice cream parlours and picnic areas, while couples can go for a romantic boat ride on the lake.
  • A woman selling painted eggs to American tourists © Caroline Lessire
    A woman selling painted eggs to American tourists. In Romania, painted eggs are used to decorate the Paschal – or Easter – table and are also offered as gifts to loved ones. Easter morning begins with a traditional game that involves tapping a painted egg against someone else’s egg while saying "Hristos a nviat!" (Christ has risen!), to which the other person answers "Adevarat ca inviat!" (He really has risen!). Whoever’s egg doesn’t break, wins the game! In the days following Easter, Romanians use these ritual phrases to greet each other.
  • Dealul Mitropoliei in Bukarest © Caroline Lessire
    Situated on a small hill, Dealul Mitropoliei is a place of great historic, cultural, architectural and religious importance that attracts many tourists. It houses the headquarters of the Romanian Patriarchy and the residence of the Patriarch, the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
  • Poverty, low education, drugs, gangs, violence, prostitution, garbage. © Caroline Lessire
    Poverty, low education, drugs, gangs, violence, prostitution, garbage. These words are often used to describe Bucharest’s Ferentari neighbourhood situated 5 km from the city centre. Nonetheless, Bucharest has relatively low levels of crime compared to other EU cities. Figures show that the total number of crimes fell by 51% between 2000 and 2004, and by a further 7% between 2012 and 2013.
  • Poverty, low education, drugs, gangs, violence, prostitution, garbage. © Caroline Lessire
    Poverty, low education, drugs, gangs, violence, prostitution, garbage. These words are often used to describe Bucharest’s Ferentari neighbourhood situated 5 km from the city centre. Nonetheless, Bucharest has relatively low levels of crime compared to other EU cities. Figures show that the total number of crimes fell by 51% between 2000 and 2004, and by a further 7% between 2012 and 2013.
  • Petty crime and institutional corruption are fairly widespread in Bucharest. This corruption is an open secret, as evidenced by all the casinos, nightclubs and other small businesses in the city that are operated by mafia networks with impunity. © Caroline Lessire
    Petty crime and institutional corruption are fairly widespread in Bucharest. This corruption is an open secret, as evidenced by all the casinos, nightclubs and other small businesses in the city that are operated by mafia networks with impunity.
  • The Palace of the Parliament houses the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, three museums and an international conference centre. This pharaonic-like construction, that was commissioned by Ceausescu and took over 13 years to build, is the second largest administrative building in the world after The Pentagon. The building has eight underground levels, the last one being a nuclear bunker, linked to the main state institutions by 20 km of catacombs. © Caroline Lessire
    The Palace of the Parliament houses the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, three museums and an international conference centre. This pharaonic-like construction, that was commissioned by Ceausescu and took over 13 years to build, is the second largest administrative building in the world after The Pentagon. The building has eight underground levels, the last one being a nuclear bunker, linked to the main state institutions by 20 km of catacombs.
  • Monasteries, a National Archives, a hospital, some factories and various workshops, were all demolished to make room for the building. During that time, a third of the old city was bulldozed: six square kilometres that were home to some 57,000 people, including the entire Jewish quarter. Four decades later, almost 70% of the Palace of the Parliament remains empty. © Caroline Lessire
    Monasteries, a National Archives, a hospital, some factories and various workshops, were all demolished to make room for the building. During that time, a third of the old city was bulldozed: six square kilometres that were home to some 57,000 people, including the entire Jewish quarter. Four decades later, almost 70% of the Palace of the Parliament remains empty.
  • Building work on the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral, a huge construction located on Arsenal Square opposite the Palace of the Parliament, began in 2010. Once completed, it will be one of the world’s largest religious buildings, with a capacity of 10,000 worshipers. It will have a main hall, various events rooms, an icon and religious clothing shop, a museum and gallery space, as well as a refectory, storage rooms and other facilities. For many Romanians, the sheer scale of the project is a hark back to the megalomania of the Ceausescu era and it has been widely criticised and fiercely opposed. © Caroline Lessire
    Building work on the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral, a huge construction located on Arsenal Square opposite the Palace of the Parliament, began in 2010. Once completed, it will be one of the world’s largest religious buildings, with a capacity of 10,000 worshipers. It will have a main hall, various events rooms, an icon and religious clothing shop, a museum and gallery space, as well as a refectory, storage rooms and other facilities. For many Romanians, the sheer scale of the project is a hark back to the megalomania of the Ceausescu era and it has been widely criticised and fiercely opposed.
  • The National Museum of Contemporary Art is situated in a new glass wing of the Parliament building. It has a rooftop terrace from where visitors can enjoy amazing views of the city. © Caroline Lessire
    The National Museum of Contemporary Art is situated in a new glass wing of the Parliament building. It has a rooftop terrace from where visitors can enjoy amazing views of the city.
  • Piata Obor is one of Romania’s largest and most diverse markets that gives a taste of Romanian tradition and culture. Here, you will find fresh organic fruit and vegetables from the villages around Bucharest as well as meat and fish from local producers. © Caroline Lessire
    Piata Obor is one of Romania’s largest and most diverse markets that gives a taste of Romanian tradition and culture. Here, you will find fresh organic fruit and vegetables from the villages around Bucharest as well as meat and fish from local producers.
  • Piata Obor is one of Romania’s largest and most diverse markets that gives a taste of Romanian tradition and culture. Here, you will find fresh organic fruit and vegetables from the villages around Bucharest as well as meat and fish from local producers. © Caroline Lessire
    Piata Obor is one of Romania’s largest and most diverse markets that gives a taste of Romanian tradition and culture. Here, you will find fresh organic fruit and vegetables from the villages around Bucharest as well as meat and fish from local producers.
  • Opposite the old market is Veranda Mall. A modern shopping complex filled with Starbucks cafés, restaurants and fancy Western chain stores, it is the complete antithesis of Obor Market. © Caroline Lessire
    Opposite the old market is Veranda Mall. A modern shopping complex filled with Starbucks cafés, restaurants and fancy Western chain stores, it is the complete antithesis of Obor Market.
  • Transgaz is a Romanian state-owned natural gas company that has signed up to the BRUA pipeline project, which aims to open a gas pipeline connecting Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria in 2019. Unlike many other countries, Romania is one of the least gas import dependent countries in the region. The project will allow Hungary, for the first time in decades, to buy gas from a source other than Russia. © Caroline Lessire
    Transgaz is a Romanian state-owned natural gas company that has signed up to the BRUA pipeline project, which aims to open a gas pipeline connecting Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria in 2019. Unlike many other countries, Romania is one of the least gas import dependent countries in the region. The project will allow Hungary, for the first time in decades, to buy gas from a source other than Russia.
  • Opened in the 1850s, Bucharest’s largest cemetery holds the remains of the city’s aristocrats as well as numerous artists. A place that breathes life rather than death, people come here to talk, clean and tend to graves, light lanterns and small candles for the dead, or have a bite to eat as they sit quietly by the gravesides. You will see workers at work and children at play, and the odd Pope has even been known to visit! Inevitably, the cemetery also finds itself reclaimed by nature, in a strange and beautiful way. © Caroline Lessire
    Opened in the 1850s, Bucharest’s largest cemetery holds the remains of the city’s aristocrats as well as numerous artists. A place that breathes life rather than death, people come here to talk, clean and tend to graves, light lanterns and small candles for the dead, or have a bite to eat as they sit quietly by the gravesides. You will see workers at work and children at play, and the odd Pope has even been known to visit! Inevitably, the cemetery also finds itself reclaimed by nature, in a strange and beautiful way.
  • In the decades after the Golden Twenties, which saw the rise of Fascism, Europe erupt into war and Romania’s transition towards a communist regime and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of Romania, Jewish society and culture were subject to increasingly tight control and threatening treatment by the authorities. Because of this – and the Aliyah – the Jewish community in Romania now barely exists: from a population of 800,000 Jews in 1939, only around 3,000 live in Bucharest today. Though Romania long denied its participation in The Holocaust, a Holocaust Memorial Day was finally established in 2004. © Caroline Lessire
    In the decades after the Golden Twenties, which saw the rise of Fascism, Europe erupt into war and Romania’s transition towards a communist regime and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of Romania, Jewish society and culture were subject to increasingly tight control and threatening treatment by the authorities. Because of this – and the Aliyah – the Jewish community in Romania now barely exists: from a population of 800,000 Jews in 1939, only around 3,000 live in Bucharest today. Though Romania long denied its participation in The Holocaust, a Holocaust Memorial Day was finally established in 2004.
  • Children play in the streets of central Bucharest after buying food to bring home. Though it’s not the case for these two, the phenomenon of street children persists in the Post Communist Romania. Originally, street children are one of the consequences of Nicolae Ceausescu’s forced birth policies and the fostering of a culture of abandonment of children before 1990. In 2015, 46.8% of Romanian children were at risk of poverty or social exclusion and in 2016 the Council of Europe has urged Romania to make greater efforts to combat child trafficking. © Caroline Lessire
    Children play in the streets of central Bucharest after buying food to bring home. Though it’s not the case for these two, the phenomenon of street children persists in the Post Communist Romania. Originally, street children are one of the consequences of Nicolae Ceausescu’s forced birth policies and the fostering of a culture of abandonment of children before 1990. In 2015, 46.8% of Romanian children were at risk of poverty or social exclusion and in 2016 the Council of Europe has urged Romania to make greater efforts to combat child trafficking.
  • A woman adjusts her head scarf after prayers at the Church of the Martyr Heroes. © Caroline Lessire
    A woman adjusts her head scarf after prayers at the Church of the Martyr Heroes.
  • Eine Bukarester Straßenszene im 2. Distrikt. © Caroline Lessire
    Eine Bukarester Straßenszene im 2. Distrikt.
  • A one-legged man in Eroii Revulutiei. © Caroline Lessire
    A one-legged man in Eroii Revulutiei.
  • A woman feeding birds in Bucharest’s old town. © Caroline Lessire
    A woman feeding birds in Bucharest’s old town.
  • Izvor Park sits next to the People’s Palace. Formerly a quiet residential area with gardens, pavilions and small buildings, the whole district was razed by the Ceausescus, which is why the park you see today has very few mature trees or attractions. © Caroline Lessire
    Izvor Park sits next to the People’s Palace. Formerly a quiet residential area with gardens, pavilions and small buildings, the whole district was razed by the Ceausescus, which is why the park you see today has very few mature trees or attractions.
  • However, it is the perfect site to host events such as Hey Day, a three-day music festival. For the equivalent of just three euros, you can enjoy concerts in the relaxed atmosphere of this family-friendly event. Few miss the chance to wear their favourite tees – or transmit their love of a favourite band to their kids! Less family friendly, however, are the food truck prices – which are as expensive as any found in Western Europe. © Caroline Lessire
    However, it is the perfect site to host events such as Hey Day, a three-day music festival. For the equivalent of just three euros, you can enjoy concerts in the relaxed atmosphere of this family-friendly event. Few miss the chance to wear their favourite tees – or transmit their love of a favourite band to their kids! Less family friendly, however, are the food truck prices – which are as expensive as any found in Western Europe.
  • Every day, old men gather in Cismigiu Gardens to play Backgammon and Rami – a popular board game also played with cards. Many of these men are retired legionnaires and former members of the Romanian Army. © Caroline Lessire
    Every day, old men gather in Cismigiu Gardens to play Backgammon and Rami – a popular board game also played with cards. Many of these men are retired legionnaires and former members of the Romanian Army.
  • An old man teaches a young boy pottery skills as part of a Street Delivery event. Established in 2006 by the Cărtureşti Foundation and the Romanian Architects Order, Street Delivery takes place every year in cities across Romania. Streets are closed to traffic to create a space for pedestrians and users of alternative transport to take part in various artistic, social and civic activities. Dedicated to the arts, urbanism and architecture, the event invites organizations and companies to suggest ways to make cities friendlier for their citizens. © Caroline Lessire
    An old man teaches a young boy pottery skills as part of a Street Delivery event. Established in 2006 by the Cărtureşti Foundation and the Romanian Architects Order, Street Delivery takes place every year in cities across Romania. Streets are closed to traffic to create a space for pedestrians and users of alternative transport to take part in various artistic, social and civic activities. Dedicated to the arts, urbanism and architecture, the event invites organizations and companies to suggest ways to make cities friendlier for their citizens.
  • Inside this impressive building that houses the National Museum of Romanian History, you can admire a superb replica of Trajan's Column and the Romanian Crown Jewels. The museum contains artefacts from prehistoric times until the First World War. Nevertheless, History here stops in 1917. The past, even today, is a tough subject hard to address and Romania is struggling to tackle its own story. © Caroline Lessire
    Inside this impressive building that houses the National Museum of Romanian History, you can admire a superb replica of Trajan's Column and the Romanian Crown Jewels. The museum contains artefacts from prehistoric times until the First World War. Nevertheless, History here stops in 1917. The past, even today, is a tough subject hard to address and Romania is struggling to tackle its own story.
  • Tourists walk along Revolution Square where Ceausescu gave his final speech in 1989. © Caroline Lessire
    Tourists walk along Revolution Square where Ceausescu gave his final speech in 1989.
  • Queens Nightclub, one of two gay clubs in the Romanian capital. © Caroline Lessire
    Queens Nightclub, one of two gay clubs in the Romanian capital.
  • A woman daydreams on public transport. © Caroline Lessire
    A woman daydreams on public transport.
 
  • Portrait of Alex © Caroline Lessire
    Alex - 29 - Receptionist
    Alex was born in 1989, so he was “lucky enough not to live through the old communist regime for more than a few weeks”. Still, its legacy lingered long enough for him to have his diploma denied because his hair was too long.
  • Portrait of Alex © Caroline Lessire
    “Never mind. Nothing I wanted to do required that diploma anyway.”
  • Portrait of Alex 3 © Caroline Lessire
    Alex likes to escape through music – he loves Rock ’n’ Roll and Metal. Alex also enjoys comic books and daydreaming. Sometimes, he and his friends go to rave parties in the woods.
  • Alex 4 © Caroline Lessire
    His many talents include playing the guitar, making illustrations and playing video games at competition level, which occasionally takes him abroad. Highly sensitive, he doesn’t see freedom as an abstract concept but as one of life’s core guiding forces. At the end of the day, all Alex wants is to keep a clear head, avoid other people’s bad behaviour, and be left to do his own thing.
  • Alex 5 © Caroline Lessire
    He sees happiness as a goal rather than as a given, so if he can enjoy his music, his books, his drawing and is able to travel with his friends, for him “that will do”.
  • Alex 6 © Caroline Lessire
    Alex wants to feel as free as possible. He is happy to accept the constraints that life and the society he lives in impose as long as he doesn’t feel the need to constantly escape them. He explains all of this in a realistic and thoughtful way.
  • Alex 7 © Caroline Lessire
    “Freedom, to me, is the fact that nothing actually matters, which means that we, or I at least, am free to give meaning to whatever it is I find meaningful. I don't know what word best describes my kind of freedom: nothingness, I guess? One friend told me that she envies my freedom, but I don't really know or understand what she means.”
  • Bogdan works in the district of Pipera, which was an ordinary village until 1995 when it became a land and property hotspot, making it one of Bucharest’s most expensive residential areas. © Caroline Lessire
    Bogdan, 28 – IT-Spezialist
    Bogdan works in the district of Pipera, which was an ordinary village until 1995 when it became a land and property hotspot, making it one of Bucharest’s most expensive residential areas.
  • Bogdan works in the district of Pipera, which was an ordinary village until 1995 when it became a land and property hotspot, making it one of Bucharest’s most expensive residential areas. © Caroline Lessire
    Bogdan works in the district of Pipera, which was an ordinary village until 1995 when it became a land and property hotspot, making it one of Bucharest’s most expensive residential areas.
  • The district is home to a number of international technology and telecommunications companies that employ a young and modern workforce. © Caroline Lessire
    The district is home to a number of international technology and telecommunications companies that employ a young and modern workforce.
  • The district is home to a number of international technology and telecommunications companies that employ a young and modern workforce. © Caroline Lessire
    The district is home to a number of international technology and telecommunications companies that employ a young and modern workforce.
  • Bogdan’s computer science studies have allowed him to lead the kind of life he has always wanted. He feels completely at home with modernity and enjoys analysing statistical data and number crunching. © Caroline Lessire
    Bogdan’s computer science studies have allowed him to lead the kind of life he has always wanted. He feels completely at home with modernity and enjoys analysing statistical data and number crunching.
  • Bogdan’s computer science studies have allowed him to lead the kind of life he has always wanted. He feels completely at home with modernity and enjoys analysing statistical data and number crunching. © Caroline Lessire
    Bogdan’s computer science studies have allowed him to lead the kind of life he has always wanted. He feels completely at home with modernity and enjoys analysing statistical data and number crunching.
  • He proudly explains that Pipera is like a city within a city, full of young, efficient people making things work. © Caroline Lessire
    He proudly explains that Pipera is like a city within a city, full of young, efficient people making things work.
  • Bogdan enjoys his life here. © Caroline Lessire
    Bogdan enjoys his life here.
  • He is very practical and clear about what he wants the next 20 years of his life to look like: he plans on travelling abroad for pleasure and to continue working in Pipera. © Caroline Lessire
    He is very practical and clear about what he wants the next 20 years of his life to look like: he plans on travelling abroad for pleasure and to continue working in Pipera.
  • He is very practical and clear about what he wants the next 20 years of his life to look like: he plans on travelling abroad for pleasure and to continue working in Pipera. © Caroline Lessire
    He is very practical and clear about what he wants the next 20 years of his life to look like: he plans on travelling abroad for pleasure and to continue working in Pipera.
  • Christian: <br> "Play... © Caroline Lessire
    Christian:
    "Play...
  • Work. © Caroline Lessire
    Work.
  • Relax. © Caroline Lessire
    Relax.
  • Do it with love and transform it into passion!” © Caroline Lessire
    Do it with love and transform it into passion!”
  • Born and raised in Bucharest, Cristina knows her city inside out. © Caroline Lessire
    Cristina, 32 - Project Coordinator
    Born and raised in Bucharest, Cristina knows her city inside out.
  • Churches, markets, museums... Just tell her what you’re looking for and she’ll recommend some great places. © Caroline Lessire
    Churches, markets, museums... Just tell her what you’re looking for and she’ll recommend some great places.
  • Growing up in Ferentari taught her a lot about life – she learned to stand up for herself and understood the realities of life from a young age. © Caroline Lessire
    Growing up in Ferentari taught her a lot about life – she learned to stand up for herself and understood the realities of life from a young age.
  • Growing up in Ferentari taught her a lot about life – she learned to stand up for herself and understood the realities of life from a young age. © Caroline Lessire
    Growing up in Ferentari taught her a lot about life – she learned to stand up for herself and understood the realities of life from a young age.
  • Now an activist, she helps organise anti-corruption protests that take place across the country and other events like Street Delivery. © Caroline Lessire
    Now an activist, she helps organise anti-corruption protests that take place across the country and other events like Street Delivery.
  • Opposite Cristina’s father’s house in Ferentari lives Gheorghetta, the woman who raised her. © Caroline Lessire
    Opposite Cristina’s father’s house in Ferentari lives Gheorghetta, the woman who raised her.
  • This sweet old lady lives here with her two dogs. © Caroline Lessire
    Gheorghetta - Retired
    This sweet old lady lives here with her two dogs.
  • Opposite Cristina’s father’s house in Ferentari lives Gheorghetta, the woman who raised her. © Caroline Lessire
    Opposite Cristina’s father’s house in Ferentari lives Gheorghetta, the woman who raised her.
  • This sweet old lady lives here with her two dogs. In the heat of the day, she finds shelter in her shaded backyard. © Caroline Lessire
    Gheorghetta - Retired
    This sweet old lady lives here with her two dogs. In the heat of the day, she finds shelter in her shaded backyard.
  • Although she sees marriage as a struggle, she believes in family values. © Caroline Lessire
    Although she sees marriage as a struggle, she believes in family values.
  • Acting alone or making decisions as an individual is frowned upon by people in the community. © Caroline Lessire
    Acting alone or making decisions as an individual is frowned upon by people in the community.
  • Karrar, 28 - Hairdresser <br> “Freedom is everything.” © Caroline Lessire
    Karrar, 28 - Hairdresser
    “Freedom is everything.”
  • Kristine - Project Researcher <br> “Freedom, generally, is a multidimensional term that refers to an aspiration, a feeling or a state. © Caroline Lessire
    Kristine - Project Researcher
    “Freedom, generally, is a multidimensional term that refers to an aspiration, a feeling or a state.“
  • “Freedom, generally, is a multidimensional term that refers to an aspiration, a feeling or a state. © Caroline Lessire
    “Freedom, generally, is a multidimensional term that refers to an aspiration, a feeling or a state.
  • “Freedom, generally, is a multidimensional term that refers to an aspiration, a feeling or a state. © Caroline Lessire
    “Freedom, generally, is a multidimensional term that refers to an aspiration, a feeling or a state.
  • For me, it is particularly connected to action and movement and, ultimately, relates to a state in which we are free of illusions and fears.” © Caroline Lessire
    For me, it is particularly connected to action and movement and, ultimately, relates to a state in which we are free of illusions and fears.”
  • For me, it is particularly connected to action and movement and, ultimately, relates to a state in which we are free of illusions and fears.” © Caroline Lessire
    For me, it is particularly connected to action and movement and, ultimately, relates to a state in which we are free of illusions and fears.”
  • Livia, 27 - Bartender <br> Livia’s main passion is music and she is a big fan of Rock ’n’ Roll and Metal. She plays in a band with her friend Alex. Music is a language that Livia has learned to communicate with. © Caroline Lessire
    Livia, 27 - Bartender
    Livia’s main passion is music and she is a big fan of Rock ’n’ Roll and Metal. She plays in a band with her friend Alex. Music is a language that Livia has learned to communicate with.
  • Like Alex, she enjoys going to raves where she listens to music and experiments with chemicals. © Caroline Lessire
    Like Alex, she enjoys going to raves where she listens to music and experiments with chemicals.
  • The co-workers from the bar she works in are like her second family. They meet almost every night to drink beer and listen to music. Livia doesn’t like the new gambling and gaming venues that have opened in the city and is sad that no one looks after Romania’s beautiful old buildings that are left to decay. © Caroline Lessire
    The co-workers from the bar she works in are like her second family. They meet almost every night to drink beer and listen to music. Livia doesn’t like the new gambling and gaming venues that have opened in the city and is sad that no one looks after Romania’s beautiful old buildings that are left to decay.
  • Livia can’t imagine her future and lives very much from day to day, but as long as she gets to play her music and do shows in Bucharest and abroad, as well as spending time with her friends, meeting new people, and experimenting with art and music in the woods, the beach or anywhere else, she feels wild and free. © Caroline Lessire
    Livia can’t imagine her future and lives very much from day to day, but as long as she gets to play her music and do shows in Bucharest and abroad, as well as spending time with her friends, meeting new people, and experimenting with art and music in the woods, the beach or anywhere else, she feels wild and free.
  • “When I think of freedom I think of photography. I love how it gives you so much room for creativity and access to information, ideas and great people. © Caroline Lessire
    Paul - Photographer, Owner of a photographic studio
    “When I think of freedom I think of photography. I love how it gives you so much room for creativity and access to information, ideas and great people.
  • I am free to express myself and put anything I want into my work, my photography. And I think photography can really free your mind and soul if you do it with passion. © Caroline Lessire
    I am free to express myself and put anything I want into my work, my photography. And I think photography can really free your mind and soul if you do it with passion.
  • It's 2018, yet I can still use photographic processes that date back to the 19th century.” © Caroline Lessire
    It's 2018, yet I can still use photographic processes that date back to the 19th century.”
  • Peter - Museum Attendant <br> Peter works at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum located in Herăstrău Park. © Caroline Lessire
    Peter - Museum Attendant
    Peter works at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum located in Herăstrău Park.
  • He manages the art department and knows a lot about the institution, which showcases traditional Romanian village life through its 272 authentic peasant farms and houses from all over Romania. © Caroline Lessire
    He manages the art department and knows a lot about the institution, which showcases traditional Romanian village life through its 272 authentic peasant farms and houses from all over Romania.
  • He is proud to tell the story of Gheorge Focşa, the museum’s founder who fought to defend Romanian culture and heritage when it was threatened with destruction. © Caroline Lessire
    He is proud to tell the story of Gheorge Focşa, the museum’s founder who fought to defend Romanian culture and heritage when it was threatened with destruction.

  • Comfortable in the world of thought and ideas, he loves to share his knowledge of the Habsburg Empire, the Romanian national anthem “Hora Unirii”, the poet Mihai Eminescu, and powerful leaders like Napoleon Bonaparte. © Caroline Lessire
    Comfortable in the world of thought and ideas, he loves to share his knowledge of the Habsburg Empire, the Romanian national anthem “Hora Unirii”, the poet Mihai Eminescu, and powerful leaders like Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • He reflects on the idea of freedom with a deep silence and concentration. For Peter, the 19th century was one of Romania’s freest periods because of the tough policies against corruption and theft they had at that time. © Caroline Lessire
    He reflects on the idea of freedom with a deep silence and concentration. For Peter, the 19th century was one of Romania’s freest periods because of the tough policies against corruption and theft they had at that time.
  • He also mentions the years between 1920 and 1940 when the country was strong, and people still had dreams. © Caroline Lessire
    He also mentions the years between 1920 and 1940 when the country was strong, and people still had dreams.
  • He sees America and Romania as sharing similar histories and admires President Trump for his nationalism and his defence of national values: “Family and nation first.” © Caroline Lessire
    He sees America and Romania as sharing similar histories and admires President Trump for his nationalism and his defence of national values: “Family and nation first.”
  • National history, territorial disputes and the repercussions of the loss of territories are things that Peter finds very meaningful. For him, freedom comes through power, and a strong country is a free country. © Caroline Lessire
    National history, territorial disputes and the repercussions of the loss of territories are things that Peter finds very meaningful. For him, freedom comes through power, and a strong country is a free country.
  • Radu (right) & Razvan , 23 - Law and Economics Graduates © Caroline Lessire
    Radu (right) & Razvan , 23 - Law and Economics Graduates
  • Radu: “In my view, freedom is an ideal, an idea: the certainty that I can do whatever I please, to pursue whatever path I choose as long as I don’t impinge on other people’s freedoms. © Caroline Lessire
    Radu: “In my view, freedom is an ideal, an idea: the certainty that I can do whatever I please, to pursue whatever path I choose as long as I don’t impinge on other people’s freedoms.
  • Besides respecting other people, the only limits are those you impose on yourself or your moral code. Freedom should be the rule in the game we call life.” © Caroline Lessire
    Besides respecting other people, the only limits are those you impose on yourself or your moral code. Freedom should be the rule in the game we call life.”
  • Tamina is liked and appreciated by many. Non-judgemental and someone who hates unnecessary conflict, she is the kind of person who brings cupcakes in to the office on her birthday. She met her partner Filip while still at school, they lived in the same neighbourhood. Filip is a researcher in Artificial Intelligence and although this is not one of Tamina’s interests, they share a lot of other passions – especially travel, nature and music. They love to hop on a plane to go and see their favourite artist perform, eat their favourite foods or visit random places. © Caroline Lessire
    Tamina, 26 - Graduate in Cultural Management
    Tamina is liked and appreciated by many. Non-judgemental and someone who hates unnecessary conflict, she is the kind of person who brings cupcakes in to the office on her birthday. She met her partner Filip while still at school, they lived in the same neighbourhood. Filip is a researcher in Artificial Intelligence and although this is not one of Tamina’s interests, they share a lot of other passions – especially travel, nature and music. They love to hop on a plane to go and see their favourite artist perform, eat their favourite foods or visit random places.
  • She would like Romanians to be better perceived in Europe. She believes in freedom and the power of local organisations and projects to make change happen. She recently took part in pro-LGTB demonstrations and supports progressive and anti-corruption movements. All she wants is the best for her country and its people. © Caroline Lessire
    She would like Romanians to be better perceived in Europe. She believes in freedom and the power of local organisations and projects to make change happen. She recently took part in pro-LGTB demonstrations and supports progressive and anti-corruption movements. All she wants is the best for her country and its people.

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