The main aim of the Histories through Images. Questions and Answers podcast series is to present interviews whose starting point is the photographs in the Mihai Oroveanu Image Collection. A rich corpus of photographs, comprising items that cover a time period from the mid-nineteenth century to recent years, this impressive archive of images encapsulates the evolution of the photographic medium, the history of the visual, and the cultural and socio-political history of Romania. Salonul de proiecte invited experts from various domains to choose images from the collection and reflect on them within the framework of conversations in which their interests combined with provocative interpretations of photographs that would thereby come to the public’s attention via complex narratives. As part of these conversations, one of the intentions of Salonul de proiecte’s team, who collaborated for this project with Claudiu Cobilanschi, was also to pay especial attention to issues pertaining to photography as a medium in itself. From one such perspective, the contributions of specialists and practitioners of the medium such as Iosif Király, Matei Bejenaru, Adrian-Silvan Ionescu, and Radu Igazsag shed light on issues connected to the history of photography in Romania, both as a field of study and a vehicle for research for a series of other disciplines, as well as a technical and discursive apparatus endowed with its own autonomy within the framework of processes for representing reality. Other interviews concern the image from the viewpoint of the history of art, placing the emphasis on cultural phenomena specific to the Romanian context (Ioana Vlasiu and Ioana Beldiman), while the conversation with Anca Oroveanu focuses on the birth of the Mihai Oroveanu Image Collection and the manner in which it was assembled, choosing particular images from it in order to talk about their idiosyncratic nature, while at the same time underlining the semiotic and aesthetic power of photography. An important component of this series of conversations has to do with deciphering narratives of recent history (Mihai Burcea) and interweaving them with personal experiences (Corina Doboș). A conjunction of the professional-objective and the personal-subjective or polemic dimensions also occurs in the interviews with Ștefan Ghenciulescu and Doina Levința, with the former tackling the subject of the urban transformation of Bucharest and the latter recollecting her professional career in combination with encounters that have influenced the course of her personal trajectory. Finally, the conversation with Ștefan Bâlici brings photography into the territory of debates about its being turned into heritage, given that what is at stake more broadly in such an approach is revelation of the cultural importance of the Oroveanu Image Collection and the need for such archives of images to be preserved and to become part of a critical-intellectual discourse and of collective memory. 

The podcasts can be accessed here.

Interviews by Claudiu Cobilanschi, Alexandra Croitoru, Magda Radu, Ștefan Sava
Photographs from the Mihai Oroveanu Image Collection. The authors of the photographs are mentioned wherever it has been possible to identify them.
Transcription: Carina Dulea
Translation: Alistair Ian Blyth
Layout: Larisa Sitar

A podcast series conceived by the Salonul de proiecte Association in the frame of the project Histories through Images. Questions and Answers

A cultural project co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund

The project does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or the manner in which the results of the project may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the funding recipient.

With the support of: New Europe Foundation, Bucharest; The University of Bucharest; The National University of Arts Bucharest; Radio Romania; Ivan Gallery, Bucharest