There’s so much writing and talking about Bucharest these days that it seems hard to find anything more to add to all that wonder, outrage, disinterest, love and sometimes even disgust that living in this city triggers in people. Like many other post-socialist cities in this Eastern-European region of ours, Bucharest is about ambivalence, about always having to conciliate the negative and positive in a very unstable representation of reality.
This is why, in order to avoid this never-ending effort of designing a somewhat coherent image of the surroundings, many of us ended up isolating ourselves in our own safe places: hip bars, urban gardens, outdoor festivals, cultural venues, postmodern office buildings and so on. We got so detached from the rest of the life that happens in this city that sometimes we tell each other things like: “Hey, get out of your bubble. That thing you live in, that’s not the real Bucharest!”
And that’s how this project came to be. It was not just about photography. It was also about getting my feet on the ground and seeing people around me as actual human beings and not just passers-by on my way to work or a night out in the 3-4 bars I always go to.
I chose to photograph at night because this is when most of the people I know, including myself, become completely oblivious to what’s happening around them beyond the things that they want to experience for themselves. So my intention was to capture the life of all those that remain awake in the city while most of the city falls asleep. Quiet on the surface, sad and lonely if you look closer, there is always activity of some kind in every corner of the city. But it’s not only the flashy nightlife of the hip bars. It’s also the daily life of vendors, sanitation workers, taxi drivers, florists, homeless people. We are all sharing this city, day and night.