For the communist propaganda, the Maramureș region was a kind of magic realm. Traditions were supposed to be kept intact forever there, untouched and pure, the people of the land were expected to be found always welcoming, merry and strong, singing and dancing while plowing the fields, cutting the grass or raising cattle, and, more than anything, ready to put on a show whenever the tourist, local or foreigner, wanted to experience a piece of this paradise. Somehow everybody assumed that the people and life in Maramureș would stay the same forever, like in a living museum, much more than the Amish or the North American Indians.
Still, Maramureș changed constantly, for good or for bad, as much as any other corner of the country. People went went to work abroad, earned money and brought back modern cars, different clothes and, of course, new ideas about life. Most of the young people born in Maramureș live in Europe now. When they come back it’s just for a short visit, during the summer or on holiday. The old way of life is gone forever, dead of a natural death.
For me, Maramureș is still a magic realm but for different reasons. It is the place where I was born and where I go home. When I am there I never worry too much about photography. Being there, meeting people, talking to friends, just being present, is more than enough. However, good images still seem to come my way, with lots of good vibes and good memories.
For a while, all of this will continue to live on film or through pixels.