14.02.2013 ioana popescu
You can read the first part here
Right from the beginning of documentary photography, Romania was depicted as a country of mountains whose peaks are full of pasture land on which flocks of sheep graze, fir trees grow up into a sky of whirling clouds, monasteries are built and churches and crosses stand tall against the rocks.
In a nutshell, this is how the photographers from the beginning of the 20th century depicted the continuity between the two worlds that held sway over Romanian traditions – the immediate and visible world, and the metaphysical world, the world beyond.

For the architect of today interested in ecological housing, the source of knowledge he first turns to is the vernacular architecture that uses earth, grass, straw, reeds and wood as its building materials.
For the documentary photographer of the past interested in promoting a Romanian model of living, the most representative object was thought to be the tall house with verandah, built from wood, brick or stone, sturdy, symmetrical and even proud. In the mirror image of the old village, it is as if the more modest homes of wattle and daub, the huts and households made entirely of compressed earth do not exist.

From the photograph taken in the studio (with its decor of props and drapes) that places gesture and posture centre stage to the image taken outdoors that captures an action as it takes place, the desired result appears to be a snapshot.
We speak of the staged snapshot if the subjects are pretending to exchange gossip over the fence; the imitation snapshot if the subjects are stopped in their natural movement and asked to look to one side, beyond the frame; and the real snapshot, which, however, given the level of camera technology at the start of the 20th century, implied a considerable distance between photographer and intended subject.

Photography, whether edited, framed, exhibited or simply kept in albums and boxes, is able to reveal the way people used to imagine themselves at a given time in their lives. Beyond the image itself, it also reveals our ideals...

With walking stick or umbrella, the person being photographed feels important and therefore appreciated.
But even without these signs of social status, the hierarchy of roles is still evident from the placement within the frame.
In the village, decency requires that women remain standing and slightly to the rear of the seated man; among the Aromanians, who accepted female authority, the latter would dominate, resting her arms on the shoulders of two decorative seated men; in the town it was deemed a sign of refinement for the men to remain standing, while the women sat on chairs, even when outdoors.

Photos from the visual archive of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant

This is a fragment from the book Beyond The Mirror by Ioana Popescu, published by Martor Publishing House.

More photos at the GF ARCHIVE

ioana popescuis ethnologist, Doctor of Philosophy, and Director of Research at the Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest.
Views: 761







14.02.2013 la 16:09

Va rog, unde putem afla ce inseamna: la Aromanii care admiteau femeia-celnic?
Multumesc,Mada Mirea



14.02.2013 la 20:34

- reply to Mada -

Pai ui ce zice acia: http://dexonline.ro/definitie/celnic
E vorba de "femeia singura" dupa cate priceo io den context. Acuma sa zica si colegii mei academicienii...:)



15.02.2013 la 10:20

- reply to Mada -

La Aromâni, celnicul este echivalentul starostelui, adică proprietar, bancher, judecător, stâpân, etc. În timp ce la noi această poziție era (aproape) exclusiv destinată bărbaților, aromânii acceptă și autoritatea feminină.



15.02.2013 la 13:10

- reply to Tudor -

Are sens mai mult cum zice Tudor.


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