My fascination with traces comes from having visited my parents’ home country, Romania, many times throughout my youth. It is a place where the memory of Communism haunts just about every aspect of society. Perhaps most moving is the Brutalist architecture that fills the cityscape, evoking an element of doom with its heaviness and repetition. When viewed on a larger scale, these structures feel ominous and overwhelming, but when experienced on the human level, details give way to a sense of individuality and optimism. Beyond the city limits, factories lie still, but traces of their previous uses are prevalent, as if the workers decided one day to pack up and leave in an instance. Abandoned as they are, shrubbery continues to grow and life goes on. Their mere existence is proof that there is still hope for a country recovering from social oppression. Many of my closest friends have since moved away from Romania to seek out better lives and, most recently, I attended my grandmother’s funeral in the town where I spent most of my summers. In the midst of this loss, I became overwhelmed by a sense of decay in a place I once called my second home. My most recent set of photographs evokes an attempt to find a sliver of hope in a seemingly empty and decrepit environment. Through a portrayal of the Romanian city and its architecture, I find parallels between my own changing perception of a particular place and the Romanian people’s attempts to pick themselves back up after years spent behind the walls of their concrete prisons.
Sinziana Velicescu is a Los Angeles based photographer and filmmaker. Her photography is shot on 35mm film and much of it focuses on the interaction between urban decay, human life, and nature. A common theme throughout her photographs is the effect of the industrialized society, specifically dealing with traces of Communism in Eastern Europe and of the American Dream in the United States.