Richard Ansett

From Cluj – Napoca Romania to Miclosaora, Transylvania 2011

Arriving in Romania it immediately dispels the myths of Bram Stoker’s Victorian Gothic pot boiler but whilst large stretches have been stripped of any charm by the post revolutionary zeal to develop into a modern state, there are isolated pockets where peasants eke out a subsistence living, usually portrayed in travel photography and tourist guides as low carbon footprint and ‘the romantic moneyless’ rather than just poor.

Romania’s alternative realities include its history of pogrom both under the Nazis and then the Russians, (in Transylvania 8000 villages were completely destroyed by the Ceaucescu regime), they are considered by the outside world and themselves to be the ‘poor man of Europe.’ It is hard to reconstruct a national identity when it seems no-one cares who you are or what you think.

Around the modernity of new motorways and ‘non stops’ I am increasingly aware of superstition, I have a lung infection and feel unstable on a cocktail of prescription medication and alcohol. I refuse a gypsy begging by the roadside; a curse feels palpable and personal here just 3 hours away from the secular security of London. She mumbles something Hungarian under her breath whilst maintaining eye contact and smiling.

In Transylvania as a the sun goes down we dine with the count, not Vlad luckily but Prince Charles’s great friend Count Kalnoky and his wife Anna. He had a priviedged upbringing in exile in Munich and has that predictable, tedious, self-important, patronising distance that makes you want to say “fuck’ alot but I know its not his fault, its a disability that accompanies privilege. He avoided the Ceauescu regime but Anna had lived through it and is more connected and I like her but she still hides her emotions behind a hard, expressionless gaze. She stood in the corner, facing into the wall for too long to illustrate her treatment at school. The servants tell me that the local peasants think she is a witch.

When I returned to London and a large black fly flew out of my ear.

Lay-by #1, Romania 2011 © Richard Ansett

Lay-by #2, Romania, 2011 © Richard Ansett

Sexy Girl Towels, Romania, 2011 © Richard Ansett

View from the road, Romania © Richard Ansett

Dog Scavenging at Non-Stop © Richard Ansett

Couple relaxing at Non-Stop, Romania © Richard Ansett

Dog and Man with van at Non-Stop © Richard Ansett

Non-Stop Cafe, Romania © Richard Ansett

Girls walking along the road © Richard Ansett

Burnt Ground, Romania 2011 © Richard Ansett

Plastic Deer Ornament , Romania 2011 © Richard Ansett 2011

Souvenirs and EU flag, Romania © Richard Ansett

Man in new jumper © Richard Ansett

Pieces of Chalk © Richard Ansett

Boy delivering sticks, Transylvania © Richard Ansett

Trees in natural and artificial light. Transylvania © Richard Ansett

Group of People in a woodland clearing © Richard Ansett

Pile of Sticks, Transylvania © Richard Ansett

Toilet door at Non Stop © Richard Ansett

Bedroom in village © Richard Ansett

Factory from the road © Richard Ansett

Drunk men from the car © Richard Ansett

Children playing in the Street © Richard Ansett

Truckers in Non Stop © Richard Ansett

Bar at Non Stop © Richard Ansett

Wooden structure by the side of the road © Richard Ansett