For me returning to Romania always raises questions about how I perceive the country…..sometimes as Eastern Europe, sometimes as Southern Europe and sometimes as not Europe at all. Wherever I place it though I know that I can expect something worthwhile and different in terms of experiences and photography. This trip involved visiting the important Black Sea port city of Constanţa with it’s sea-side setting, crumbling old town and it’s extensive resort suburb Mamaia. The resort in particular proved to be a fruitful photographic project because in March the place is visually inspiring at the same time as being ragged at the edges from winter winds and practically deserted.
Constanţa old town on the other hand made me feel not inspired but saddened by the beauty of its many fine buildings that are now in a terrible state of disrepair. Yes, there are some museums, galleries and archaeological remains to be seen but much of the impressive pre-twentieth century architecture in this quarter is probably beyond repair…..obviously requiring enormous amounts of investment to preserve and revive the heritage that demonstrates a thriving, wealthier period in the city’s history.
Mamaia is Romania’s most popular summer resort. It stretches for five miles along a glorious strip of sandy beach to the north of Constanţa. In season there is a cable-car that carries sun-worshipers high above the hotels to bring them into its heart. Out of season it’s a great location for a contemplative stroll by the sea or for a photo walk intended to capture some of it’s abstract patterns and disheveled glory.