By Bogdan Cristel
When I was little, my grandfather told me about the winter of 1954, when the army had to shovel them out from under snow so high it covered their house completely. I didn’t believe the story at the time as it seemed like a fib, a fisherman’s tale.
Well, I recently realized my grandfather wasn’t exaggerating. I had never before seen snow that would cover an entire house until this February.
This month I’ve been to eerie white villages, where you would never know what you would find buried under the hills of snow: a house, store, garage, stables, or a tractor. I took photos from atop utility poles. Frustratingly, I couldn’t use many of the pictures because there was no benchmark beyond the ocean of snow, nothing that could frame the incredible reality I was witnessing.
Out on the crop fields, the snow wasn’t higher than 20-30 centimeters because the wind had pushed all of it onto the roads and villages until they were completely submerged. As well, there were people in those houses, most of them elderly.
I spent several days amidst the snow trying my best to tell the story of the people living on the fringe of southeastern Romania. Getting to these places was one of the hardest challenges as most of the roads were covered by meters of snow and closed off. The only way was to drive as closely as possible to the location and then, carrying all my cameras on my back, walk as many kilometers through the snow storm as possible.