My reportage A Missing Generation explores Romanian migrants’ private and hidden life. Rather than following their daily life in their new country, I was intrigued by who was left behind at home.
Around 5 million Romanians were forced to leave their country in the last fifteen years for the wealthier Western Europe or the USA due to the country’s economic conditions. Many migrants had to leave behind their children with grandparents, neighbours or in public institutions. This has meant that around 350,000 children have grown up without one or both of their parents in Romania. It was their story that I was interested in. Through A Missing Generation, I have told their story with my images and shared both their and their parents’ silent and unseen pain. Photography can be a useful instrument to turn a private sorrow into a social issue.
I lived in a small rural village, Bodesti close to the Moldovan border, with a family of poor elderly farmers who were taking care of their grandchild. His mother, divorced, had to move to Italy to find a job that would support the whole family. Bodesti is a town of stark contrasts in terms of age groups with only the old and young living there, the middle aged are noticeable by their absence. They are the missing generation.
Through my reportage I tried to highlight the strong contrast between the public façade of Romanian migrants that are frequently depicted in the media as dangerous or undesirable, and their real personal life, often overwhelmed in a silent sorrow. I wanted my pictures to speak for them and their children, for their silent sadness and nostalgia. The missing generation grew without a voice; they didn’t have freedom of speech during the regime. They now have freedom to travel and migrate but poverty hasn’t changed. Not even being part of the European Union made a difference for them.
Chiara Ceolin is a freelance photographer based in London, represented by Italian photo-agency Emblema since 2010.
A former psychoanalyst with a specialization in crisis and emergency psychology, Chiara found in photography a way to share people’s stories, focusing on social issues and human rights.
She started her profession in Italy, documenting the horrible life conditions of a large group of African refugees and asylum seekers in Turin. Her project “Landed” has been supported by Amnesty International Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta. The multimedia piece that she made has been awarded at the first Italian Multimedia Photojournalism Award in 2010.
With her reportage “A Missing Generation” she opens our eyes to a side of Romania that is frequently not seen and often ignored.
After getting a Master in Photojournalism at the University of Westminster in 2009, Chiara decided to establish in London, UK, where she still currently lives and works.
Her work has been published in Italy and the UK.
She has been shortlisted at the London Festival of Photography 2012 and at the Kuala Lampur Photo Festival 2012.
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