Hidden and authentic | Documentary photos from Moldova

Hidden and authentic | Documentary photos from Moldova

Rusty red stars and carport behind the church, horses and Ladas, children and old people playing happily. The documentary images on the Raw/Moldova website show small, joyful and absurd scenes of urban and rural life in Moldova. We asked the creators of the site about the project.

Veaceslav Celpan, Pohrebea, 2020

You started the Raw/Moldova Instagram page in May, 2022. Where did the idea come from?

The project came from our idea to have a platform for showcasing Moldovan documentary photography with a direct approach.

What made you chose this name for the site? Why was the Raw word important for you?

“Raw” means authentic, pure, unaltered. Documentary photography should be an honest representation of reality. Artistic interpretation is more an aesthetic expression than a real and unique moment. Of course, “raw” is also a digital camera file format which contains unprocessed data from the image sensor of a camera.

Dorin Goian, Manastirea Condrita, 2016
Dorin Goian, Ulmu, 2011
Vera Belocris, Valeni, 2017

What is your method of selecting the photos? Are you a team of photographers, do you follow the pages of Moldavians who take photos, or do people submit them to you?

Moldova is a small country, so naturally there is a tight network between photographers. Some of them we have known for a long time as friends and colleagues. The selection is based on our taste, but it changes over time. We keep discovering new photographers and some have also approached us.

The description of the page is Moldavian documentary photography. Compared to other countries, what do you see as your specialty, if there is one?

From the ashes of the Soviet school of photography rises a variety of independent and unique authors. Moldova has very few large cities and vast rural landscapes. Thus, the documentary photographs show the more hidden parts of our world, exotic and untouched by globalisation. We have a very specific visual culture and anthropology, a combination of Soviet, modern and traditional local aesthetics.

Anya Galatonova, Temeleuți, 2016

Do you experience any difficulty or conflicts when taking photos on the streets?

Legally speaking, there are no stringent restrictions in Moldova so we are free to take photos. On a personal level, some people are very open to being photographed, while others may feel very exposed or vulnerable and some even get phisically aggressive.

What are your future plans for the site? Are you planning a photo book or an exhibition?

Our main goal is to keep expanding our platform and network. We are also working on an exhibition and planning on many others, both inside and outside Moldova.

Anya Galatonova, Hristovaia, 2016
Dorin Goian, Schinoasa, 2012
Lucia Lupu,Văleni, 2017
Lucian-Nicolae Hirtop-Albu, Leova, 2020

What is the situation like for you in Moldova right now?

Our people have a long history of social and political turmoil. The war has brought much attention to our country, thus generating work opportunities for many photographers. On the other hand, here we are at the border between East and West, yet again living in constant tension and uncertainty of what the future may bring.

Vera Belocris, Chișinău, 2017
Vera Belocris, Chișinău, 2017
Andrei Moraru, Chișinău, 2012

Raw/Moldova | Instagram

Cover photo: Anton Polyakov: Kolosovo village, 2015

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