Oliver Merce - Crivina

Oliver Merce – Crivina

“A political decision was taken in 1976 to build a power plant at Crivina – about 10 km from Anina – to be closer to the quarry. The power plant was to operate using bituminous shale,. There were many difficulties when the building started: the enormous excavation of 4.7 million cubic meters of rock, the water supply from 20 km distance, the power plant could not have a railroad, the bituminous shale had very poor quality and were very harsh, their grinding leading to frequent mills’ failure, the problems related to ash disposal. Finally the thermoelectric power plant was operational in 1984.

In the immediate vicinity of the power plant a colony of barracks was build for workers and specialists working here. There were three types of barracks: Comet – for workers, Diana – the foreman and Tomis – for engineers. In the ‘80s, there were a few hundreds of such barracks, several thousand people living in the colony. At that time, this area a paradise in Caras Severin County: the barracks had all the necessary utilities, the food – although was rationalized but plentiful, the empoyees paychecks were very high considering the rest of the population.

After an investment of about 7 billion lei and after 8000 hours of operational usage the thermoelectric power plant stopped operating in 1988. In 2002 the power plant was sold as metal scrap.

Nowadays Crivina is considered a district of Anina city. Inside the colony live about 50 people in 20-30 barracks as the rest of the barracks are very damaged and are uninhabitable. The people cultivate small areas of land around the barracks, breed animals or work at the few companies dealing with the exploitation/processing of wood around the area.

The photographs shown here are part of a larger ongoing project and are in strict corelation with the photographs taken in another district of the city Anina – “The New Town” district. They document part of the lives of people who remained in the colony, some of them moving forward with their lives in erratic leaps, others living difficult situation very hard to understand but with great dignity in the privacy of their homes – sometimes consisting of only one room in a barrack shared with other family members.” – Oliver Merce

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Ruins of the bituminous shale power plant.

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Ruins of the bituminous shale power plant.

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What remains of the power plant’s reactor.

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Crivina colony, now district of the Anina city.

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The forest reclaimed the hills where bituminous shale was excavated from.

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Samuel (one of the few children from Crivina) and his dog. Because there was no school in Crivina, Samuel must attend school in Anina at 20 km distance.

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Samuel plays chess with his father, Nelu, in front of a neighbor’s barrack. Nelu works in Anina and to supplement family income he herds goats.

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“Cometa”, one of three types of barracks build in Crivina.

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After working in construction around the country, Costica settled 5 years ago in Crivina. Most of the people who are now living in the colony are recently settled here, the former workers of the thermal power plant left Crivina.

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Selling scrap metal is one of the few sources of income of these residents of Crivina. The metal is taken from the remains of the power plant.

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George with his wife in their own home. He worked at the former thermal power plant and now he is retired and has serious health problems.

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Madalina, one of four Ildiko’s children waiting for lunch. Ildiko is the sole provider for her four children as her husband is in prison.

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Piled protective helmets of former workers from the former power plant.

This is the second part of a vast ongoing documentary project covering issues regarding Anina – Crivina zone. A first look on the project was featured here.

Oliver Merce is a freelance photographer covering documentary issues and street photography. He was featured several times in Oitzarisme Magazine and was included in the Romanian Photo Projects 2015 selection with the ongoing project “New Town” – first seen on Oitzarisme.ro. The project took 1st prize Category “Picture Story” at Premiile de fotografie “MIHAI VASILE”. The exhibition was shown to the public at 2015 “Sequences” Photography Festival, “Versus dar Impreuna” Festival and was also featured in numerous magazines.

Oliver Merce was born in 1977, has attended Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering, he is a member of the photography group “PhotoTeam Romania” and he lives in Timisoara. His portfolio is located at http://olivermerce.ro/