5 (8) Frames of „Detritus / Nuovi” in Bucharest on Kodak Portra 400 ( 35mm / EI 400 / Contax T2) – by Mihai Dascălu

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Bucharest is a mix of old and new, beautiful and tasteless architecture mashed together in a dance of the absurd, visual clashes sprinkled at every step… I am always amazed at how the city evolves, in a way that virtually anything seems possible for the future.

The city hall and private developers seem to have a very narrow idea of development and don’t see the whole picture, making the city a “salad” of contrasting neighborhoods, styles, approaches and questioning sustainability. I always keep the nostalgia of the past and sadly watch the neglect and sloppiness of zoning and urbanism in general.


As it happens many times during my daily walks with my Contax T2 point-and-shoot camera and its Carl Zeiss T* multi-coated Sonnar 38mm fixed lens, I stumble upon “city spaces” that are the perfect example of hiding stuff under the rug.

My Contax T2, Mihai Dascalu
My Contax T2, Mihai Dascalu

These cityscapes, vistas of the neglect so to say, were the trigger of one of my photographic endeavors. It is a series about the decaying buildings and spaces, the forgotten or mundane places and the unkempt.

They are not so downtown-y places but places we pass by every day and take for granted, considering them unpleasant necessities, less clean spaces, urban objects or cityscapes that we are used to hating, because no one, in fact, seems to do anything to beautify them, clean them, bring them to the contemporary or transform them into something pleasant. Everyday life – as well as spaces surrounding us – may become mundane and tiring when you don’t turn it into something that will improve your life.

As things seem to evolve, I believe there will be endless seeds to be uncovered in the lesser neighborhoods of Bucharest, for the series that I titled „Detritus / Nuovi”. The rot and decay that intertwines with the new and beautiful.

I shot this series with the sole purpose of showing what it is and not judging the people or instances that led to it. It is a documentary series and not a criticism.

Most of the shots I took with a compact camera, riding the bike, as I needed flexibility and ease of access to narrow streets, dilapidated places and keeping the mind on stealth (as I suspected, it happened that in some cases I was approached not so candidly by residents or passersby of unsafer neighborhoods as to why I was taking pictures…).


The film stock was Kodak Portra 400, Fujifilm C200 and Kodak Gold 200 with a .

~ Mihai


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