Vasile Trifan


The view from my belly button #19 During communist times, Ceausescu referred to Valae Grecului, Moldova, as the village with the highest birthrate in Romania. Vasile Trifan and his wife have 11 children and 24 grandchildren, and birth rates here still seem higher today than the rest of the country with the school’s head teacher estimating an average of 3 children per family. Image by Anastasia Taylor-Lind @anastasiatl

#negativezero is a photographic project by Anastasia Taylor-Lind about Europe’s declining populations. To join her on her roadtrip and find out more about the project please follow her on facebook bit.ly/negativezero

1 Responses to “Vasile Trifan”


  • I’ve been following Anastasia’s diary with some arms-length interest this week. I especially like the way the Instagram image of the groundglass breaks the fourth wall of the viewing experience. It took a few days to figure out that “the view from my belly” was (I assume) life viewed through the twin lens reflex. :)

    I’ve seen this style of portraiture referred to as “intuitively engaged”; it has become so prevalent in fine art, documentary, and photo-journalism, that perhaps it should be given its own genre classification. It is pulled-back portraiture with the subject(s) seemingly unengaged with the camera/photographer, so as to appear to be candid. Environment takes on a greater importance than in the closer, more classic, styles of portrait making. It’s very popular with large and medium format photographers.

    It reminds me plenty of Baroque music…which doesn’t appeal to me. There isn’t much difference for me in the intuitively engaged portraiture of one photographer from another, in the way I can’t differentiate the subtleties and nuances of one Baroque composer from another, or from one Baroque variation on a theme to another. I don’t like Mozart for that reason, yet a lot of people do; perhaps that explains why this photographic approach is so common and passionately accepted.

    I wrote previously about the panel discussion in the spring of 2012 at Rochester, wherein Alec Soth, describing how the photographer photographs himself, pointed out the self-realization of his shyness and emotional distance as the reason behind his placing his subject at a distance from his camera. In the same way Mozart didn’t invent Baroque music, but was the dominant composer of it, I doubt Soth invented the distant portrait, yet he has made it popular and fashionable.

    Looking at Anastasia’a tear-sheets, it’s easy to see how this approach to portraiture serves written-word journalism; there is nothing wrong in the way the images are sub-ordinated colour commentary to an article. The fun comes in deciphering the sophistication arising from her approach, versus those with similar technique – figuring out what makes her images different from similar minded photograhers. I prefer the photography of those who go more nose-to-nose with their subjects and their stories, but maybe that is just a difference in the seesawing of importance between the image and the written story.

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