Gabriel Amza - Genius Loci

Gabriel Amza – Genius Loci

“Genius Loci is an ongoing documentary photography project that aims to define the quintessential spirit of the Jiu Valley, Romania. As shooting began, the only thing that can clearly be defined is not the spirit, but the empty spot it left behind as it left the valley and the people in it waiting for something that has yet to appear…

The valley has seen non-stop social and economic growth since the 1840s when coal was discovered in the area until the mid-90s when the shifting markets made them unable to sustain competitive prices on the international market. The mines started closing and the way of life that has been the norm in the area started to fade. As the economy gets worst most of the mines are either closing or have already shut their doors.

Half-completed ski-lifts and hotels lie crumbling on the surrounding mountains before they ever open. In the valleys houses and mines crumble as well. The whole valley is silent. The bars open early in the morning, and are full. There are no sounds of industry, no distant rumble in the distance, and people seem to lie and wait for it to come back, or for something to replace it.” – Gabriel Amza

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Ge·ni·us lo·ci has the following dictionary definition: 1. The distinctive atmosphere or pervading spirit of a place. 2. The guardian deity of a place. A true challenge for a photographer, a bar raised very high. First of all due to the somehow different concept of this documentary. Second of all because the topic is not new to photojournalist and documentary photographers. It remains to be seen if Gabriel Amza succeeds in capturing the essence of the Valley and bringing something new and unseen before our eyes.

Gabriel Amza is a Romanian photographer and photojournalist and a Master’s candidate at the Swedish School of Photojournalism, Mittuniversitetet. He is driven by his deep curiosity of the world around him, and photographs in order to understand it better and as a way to define his view of the world. As a photographer he focuses of surrealism and  documentary and has been inspired by the works of Mario Giacomelli, Ray K. Metzker, Daido Moriyama and Masahisa Fukase. Gabriel is also a co-founder of V Photo Agency. You can follow this project here:

Cristian Bassa