PetaPixel

‘People of the Pit’ Captures a Disappearing Community on the Outskirts of Bucharest

Andreea, although shy, is always on the lookout for a nice pose.  August 2013.

Andreea, although shy, is always on the lookout for a nice pose. August 2013.

Dubbed The Last People of the Pit, this documentary photography series by photographer Sorin Vidis attempts to preserve in images what remains of a community that has made its home in an urban oasis on the outskirts of Bucharest.

Shaped by political upheaval and abandoned construction, this location was once home to a monastery complete with a district of houses and beautiful gardens. That all changed in the 1980s when the Ceausescu regime decided that the area would instead become the location of a manmade lake.

The project, however, never ended up making it past the initial stages, leaving in its wake an urban oasis fed by the natural, underground springs where many individuals and families who are struggling financially have made their home.

It is this community that Vidis has captured on film:

After a twin family shack got demolished due to a quarrel, the kids are dusting the sheets from their provisional tent. May 2013.

After a twin family shack got demolished due to a quarrel, the kids are dusting the sheets from their provisional tent. May 2013.

Gica, a hero for the pit community after an unfortunate fire on Christmas morning. January 2014.

Gica, a hero for the pit community after an unfortunate fire on Christmas morning. January 2014.

Sandu is looking for another place to live in.  January 2014.

Sandu is looking for another place to live in. January 2014.

Cristina is playing with a cart on a hot summer day. August 2013.

Cristina is playing with a cart on a hot summer day. August 2013.

During warm days, life unfolds mainly outside. Most of the kids are born in the pit and none of them attend any form of education. May 2013.

During warm days, life unfolds mainly outside. Most of the kids are born in the pit and none of them attend any form of education. May 2013.

First contact. April 2013.

First contact. April 2013.

Gica is raising pigeons inside his shack that are also pets for his kids. June 2013.

Gica is raising pigeons inside his shack that are also pets for his kids. June 2013.

Aise with her two daughters. December 2013.

Aise with her two daughters. December 2013.

There is still interest in being beautiful even inside the pit. July 2013.

There is still interest in being beautiful even inside the pit. July 2013.

Thankfully there is no snow yet – it looks to be a long autumn. December 2013.

Thankfully there is no snow yet – it looks to be a long autumn. December 2013.

The barrels used for heating are being burned in order to clean up the existing paint. November 2013.

The barrels used for heating are being burned in order to clean up the existing paint. November 2013.

Vasi is planning to leave the pit in the near future with his whole family. January 2014.

Vasi is planning to leave the pit in the near future with his whole family. January 2014.

Separated from the more scenic areas of Bucharest, this psuedo-outcast location is full of make-shift huts and neighborhoods pieced together by impoverished families and friends. But as the younger generation leaves in search of better opportunities and a better life, they leave a rather unique subculture — both literally and metaphorically — written in the dust.

People of the Pit is, therefore, a chronicle of a community that probably won’t survive too much longer. Thanks in part to Vidis’ photography, this sub-culture that may have disappeared without a trace is able to live on in photos.

Head over to Vidis’ website to learn more and/or keep up with his current and future projects.

(via Feature Shoot)


Image credits: Photographs by Sorin Vidis and used with permission


 
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  • http://tahoeshooter.com Jon Peckham

    Very talented.

  • Muneeb Afzal

    wow very inspirational work.. all of the photos are story tellers

  • Absinthia Stacy Roupakioti Ana

    How was he able to persuade the people shown in the photos to be photographed? Access is difficult, I’ve tried doing the same many times in Greece and every time I get refused access, nobody wants to be in a photo…

  • http://www.signportal.ro Gabriel Maftei

    Dear editor, aside from the artistic value of these photos, I am afraid I should tell you that your documenting work (sorry) SUCKS! The photographer says on his website, I quote: “Starting 15 years ago many poor families, mainly Roma,”. Have you ever wondered what “Roma” is? Ever heard of gypsies? Right… it’s the most common confusion made by many: Roma or rrom, or rromales has nothing to with Romanian. (well almost nothing, considering the fact that Roma population in Romania is 2,5% according to 2002 population’s census). The great majority of Romanians are as white and “caucasian” as any other Europeans. It’s rather offensive for me and the Romanians to be put in the same pit…. btw: have you heard of that smart advertising campaign “why don’t you come over?” just do some google-ing…

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com/ Stan B.

    We get it- you and your ilk are superior to and not to be confused
    with these dirty filthy mud people that dare to live on the same planet
    as you. In other words… you’re a typical, one track, racist idiot. Nothing
    new there, same ol’ tired racist diatribe coming from small, hate
    filled, racist minds wherever they populate the earth.

    You’re right about one thing though- you deserve to be thrown in your own rotten, racist pit.

  • Moromete

    You did not got the point GM is making. It is not about superiority. It
    is about respecting identity. I as a Romanian do not wanna be taken for a
    gipsy. The rroma name was set on purpose to create confusion. Now the
    vast majority of gipsies, the so called ‘rroma’, pretend they came
    from… Rome!!!

    About racism: the Western custom officers(who cry
    ‘gipsy’ when they see a Romanian passport) and the Daily Mirror
    ‘journalists’(for which each and every Romanian is a gipsy) are racists.

    If you were a black person would liked to be called white? Or viceversa.

    PRESERVING IDENTITY IS NOT RACISM!

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com/ Stan B.

    As someone fairly well versed in the the subtleties and nuances of racism- I know exactly what is being said here. We had something in the USA very much the same… “separate but equal.” That was about identity too!

    You should read about it- especially about why it failed.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Here, if you were black or white, you would still be American. I personally don’t care if you call me black or white.

  • red

    “Dear editor, aside from the artistic value of these photos, I am afraid I
    should tell you that your documenting work (sorry) SUCKS!”
    What is wrong with you? Not a single word in the article about Romanians, just simple facts about someones documentary work, which happens to be in Romania. And concerning your pride being offended, it is your country that creates the circumstances that create these conditions for the people who live there, the pit is in your country, you don’t like it, go run for office and make a change.

  • http://www.signportal.ro Gabriel Maftei

    I’ve never been to US and I suppose that you’ve never been to Romania. Enlighten me: you, the American that (again, I suppose) have a decent job, a decent house and a decent living, you regard with absolutely the same amount of consideration and respect a man (regardless of his race) who lives same as you and a guy who lives in a trailer park and drinks his money or even a homeless guy? We might be talking about cultural differences here….

  • Moromete

    `the pit is in your country` – The point is that Romania is not a country of pits.

    ‘it is your country that creates the circumstances that create these conditions’ – Are you sure about that? Education is free, there is a lot of employment opportunity. What or who stops those people getting a job? It is their choice to live like that. Nothing wrong with that. The wrong part is that you present only such images of Romania and then pretend they are representative for Romania. It is your newspapers and second hand journalists that claim Romania is a country of gipsies.

  • Moromete

    What do you mean by DISSAPEARING COMMUNITY? Are they being killed, do they emigrate, do they get better lives?

  • DLCade

    Gabriel, Editor in Chief DL Cade here. My birth name is Dragos Rezeanu. I was born and raised in Iasi, Romania. I am well versed in the difference between Roma and Romanians.

    I invite you to quote where exactly Gannon called these people Romanian. In fact, beyond saying that this community happens to live on the outskirts of Bucharest, we say nothing about their identity as either Romanian or Roma or anything else.

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com/ Stan B.

    Gabriel- In your country there is a very good chance I would be mistaken for Roma simply because of the way that I look. I don’t know you- and yet everyone I do know that talks like you is… racist. As long as you continue to separate yourselves, as long as you continue to fight each other, your country (any country) will continue to dig a bigger hole for itself.

  • http://www.signportal.ro Gabriel Maftei

    Dear Mr. DLCade, I’ve been re-reading my initial post several times now, as I was pretty sure I haven’t accused Mr. Gannon of calling those people Romanians nor had I said anything offending for the rroma people. My indignation came from the fact that he missed to quote a very important part of the photographer’s comment “many poor families, mainly Roma,”. Not doing so is very likely to lead to the reader’s logical deduction that this is how Romanians are, in general. I am outraged with the idea that people that don’t know too much about our country might be even remotely led to a Borat-like image about us. I am absolutely sure that Mr. Gannon did not do this on purpose. There are sensitive issues that cannot be perceived without a bit of documentation and the best way to prove it is by the acid remarks that followed my comment. Hoping that everything looks more clear after this post and apologizing to Mr. Gannon if I was too rough on him, I wish you (all) a nice day and am looking forward for more good quality photography-related news as I am a fan of your website.

  • http://reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com/ Stan B.

    Gabriel- I can only speak for myself, but I’m betting that many of the people who saw these photographs fully realized that this was one, very small segment of society in Romania… NOT Romania as a whole (which I would love to visit, if I could afford going anywhere right now).

    By the way, I think you would be quite surprised to see the amount of poor and homeless people living in each and every city in America.

  • yopyop

    “Not doing so is very likely to lead to the reader’s logical deduction that this is how Romanians are”
    No offense meant Gabriel, but the reader is not THAT stupid. Whatever the country where it would happen, seeing photographs of poor people in cardboard houses could not make me think that it does represent a whole country. That is quite insulting for the reader.

  • Dacus

    I have a question to this photographer: What did you do to help these people????