Dragos-Radu Dumitrescu – Turk Masal
“Turk Masal is a project that was initiated while exploring the various settlements of the southern part of Dobrogea. Some of them are inhabited by Turkish communities and have been preserved so far from the modern world probably due to geographical position and isolation.
More than documenting the daily aspects of their social life, I will try to visually explore and gather fragments of a culture that partly adapted to our standards and people but that also keeps to its ethnic origins, comprising as such a diverse archaic world.
And so it comes to Dobromir, Lespezi, Valeni, parts of Cetatea, Fantana Mare, Osmancea, villages that host Turkish ethnicity. My role is merely of a preserver. What little tradition still inhabits and is being transmitted within the community is worth documenting visually. However, this is not a standard approach to photojournalism as such. Photojournalism will relate to different social issues that permeate both space and present time, in order to facilitate a simplistic narrative surrounding ethnic integration, poverty, local education, religion, mixed marriage (once again pertaining to social integration), also tradition but rather related to Romania’s specifics, of acclimation. To me a community is an integer of cultural history and a very small-sized group of people amidst a greater continuous mass of surrounding different habits, different history, although shared, is ultimately quite difficult for it to retain its cultural backgrounds.
From an assumed subjective personal fascination, the rituals and endeavors of Turkish people have held together for hundreds of years and it is by this archaic societal ceremony that a community is formed, aside from any geopolitical interest. The main reason is the sense of identity that people seem to uphold. The cohesion, structure, differentiation, organizing, all instill psychological assuring in the face of anonymity. And this is what a community does, it keeps. Now, photographing their rites in a direct manner is only recognizing their existence. It is only noted, rarely experienced. Trying to suggest through aesthetic instruments the personality, the identity of such people within their enclosure, the atmosphere, the sentiment of a tethered ancestral line that still brings forth the spiritual abundance up to this day, can be considered an experience that it is worth imparting.
Even if more or less, people from this timid enclave, who have been living in these parts of Dobrogea since the early 1800s, are gradually forgetting their origins or convening to the actuality of Romanian village life, their collective historical values still linger even without full awareness and are emanated almost by chance, episodic. Which in any photographer’s decency is to capture and essentialize.
I want to mention that this project is partially shared with two fellow photographers: Corneliu Sarion and Rafael Ianos, regarding Lespezi village and has been up to date an immersing experience having together three different visual outlooks, and the complement that is being offered.” – Dragos-Radu Dumitrescu
“Masal” means fairytale. A very interesting choice of words, an antithesis between the documentary side of the project and the type of photography used in it, between the harshness of the actual facts and the emotions portrayed in the images.
There is a strong connection between the photos in spite of the different film format used. This happens very rarely in project. But when it happens is mostly around a documented subject that is really powerful and well presented, close to the photographer’s heart and mind. Without cold and sterile images, without stereotypes or disregard towards the subject.
What I noticed in this ongoing project at first glance was the focus on the children of these villages and interest from the author in capturing moments from their existence. Interesting correlation between the dying world of Romanian villages and the children born and raised there. Past and “unlikely future” documented in what looks to be very promising journey.