CdFD produces in-depth visual investigations of local topics in Romania and beyond by mixing various media such traditional documentary photography, sounds, video and various visuals. Our work involves interdisciplinary teams which makes us to operate at the crossroads of journalism and art.

  • we provide photography grants;
  • have launched the first printed collection of documentary photography in Romania; 
  • developed a free online digital archive of the most important visual projects done recently in Romania.


The Romanian Center for Documentary Photography co-founders

Ioana Cîrlig, project coordinator

Petruț Călinescu, project coordinator

Ioana Calinescu, communication & PR


Radu Manelici, design

Horia Petrașcu, website editor

Aura Petrașcu, social media

Dani Ivan, IT

Anca Barbulescu, translation



We offered the first Romanian grants exclusively for documentary photography projects and, in December 2018, launched the collection of Documentary Photography Centre (CdFD) albums, designed by Radu Manelici, with new material by: Lucian Bran – Săgeată, floare, foc); Petruț Călinescu – Dealul cu Facebook; Cosmin Bumbuț – Copiii lui Natural; Bogdan Croitoru – Delta dintre betoane; Ioana Cîrlig – Nothing to Fear; Nicu Ilfoveanu – Când ne-am fotografiat. (2017-2018, co-financed by the Administration of the Romanian Cultural Patrimony AFCN).

"Inventar" exhibition, 2019. A visitor look at Alex Tomazatos big print; photo by Horia Petrascu

CDFD annual exhibitions

  • REALITĂȚI POSIBILE (Possible Realities, March 2020, Rezidența BRD SCENA9) – group exhibition of five photography projects on contemporary Romanian society, coalesced around the concept of personal projection versus the reality in the field. Extra: a project coordinated by Ioana Cîrlig through CdFD’s internship programme, created by Maria Guțu, from the Republic of Moldova, a photographer at the beginning of her career, selected in 2019 by Maison Photo for its 30 Female Photographers Under 30.
  • Deschis pentru INVENTAR (Open for Stocktaking, Dec. 2018 – Jan. 2019, Rezidența BRD SCENA9). We took stock of 2018’s documentary photography: ten photographers, thirteen new projects, seven prints in a collection of documentary photography books, and one documentary short film.
  • DOI ANI de ZÂNE (Two Years of Fairies, photo exhibition by Ioana Cârlig & Marin Raica) + launch of the experimental newspaper PeriferiaB (February 2018, Apollo111, Palatul Universul).
  • Group exhibition in the Amzei Market Makers alternative space (2016) with projects by Michele Bressan and Bogdan Gîrbovan, Andrei Nacu, Cosmin Bumbuț, Ciprian Hord, Dani Gherca, Alex Tomazatos, Ioana Cîrlig and Marin Raica, and Petruț Călinescu.
Lansare „Zâne” și „PeriferiaB”, Apollo 111, 2018

We finance group/collective projects:

HOME IS WHERE, by Annemarie Bala, Ioana Cârlig, Daniela Groza, and RoxiPop around the idea of family in Romanian society. (2018, co-financed by the AFCN)

REALITĂȚI POSIBILE, by Mihai Șovăială, Bogdan Tutuneanu, Ioana Cîrlig, and Petruț Călinescu – each such “possible reality” documents a story, based on the concept of plan versus reality in Romanian society; in parallel, Maria Guțu works on a roadtrip story in the Republic of Moldova. (2019, cofinanced by the AFCN)

Ongoing Cdfd Projects

DRUMUL LĂUTARILOR (Road of the Lăutari), Ioana Cîrlig – A visual, journalistic, and ethno-musicological documentation of the life and music of women and children in the lăutari (Romani folk musicians) communities in Romania. (2020, co-financed by the AFCN)

5 UNDER 30 – A grant and mentorship programme for five young debuting photographers. (2020, co-financed by the AFCN)

DACII ȘI ROMÂNII (Dacians and Romanians) – Petruț Călinescu launches on a visual exploration of contemporary reinterpretations of the Romanian people’s founding myth. (photo and video project, co-financed in 2018-2019 by the AFCN)

MAREA NEAGRĂ (Black Sea), Petruț Călinescu – The project began in 2010 and is still ongoing, after being financed and co-financed, over time, by the German Marshall Fund and the AFCN. Once documentation is finished, the project will be published in a photography album. So far, Marea Neagră has had exhibitions in Brazil, Prague, Istanbul, Poland, and Romania. The project appeared in the form of an interview with Petruț Călinescu in the New York Times.

10 ANI PE CANAPEA (10 Years on the Sofa), Petruț Călinescu – Romanians spend more time watching TV than any other Europeans: 330 minutes a day on average, compared to Europe’s 220. Internationally, we are narrowly „bested” only by Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. All in all, an adult Romanian has already spent ten years of his life in front of the TV. (documentary short, co-financed by the AFCN in 2018 and 2019)

Zines & books

PeriferiaB (Petruț Călinescu) – A project about life on the outskirts of Bucharest, a visual census at the periphery of the Romanian capital, ending with the launch of the peripheral newspaper – a single-edition experimental print (36 pages, 500 copies) distributed for free and designed by Radu Manelici, a finalist in the 2018 Romania’s Most Beautiful Books.

Când se lasă seara peste România (When the Night Has Come, Petruț Călinescu) – a photography album created in partnership with the Recolamp Association, illustrating Romania’s day-to-day life after sundown. Design by Radu Manelici, a finalist in the 2018 Romania’s Most Beautiful Books.

CDFD group exhibition at Amzei Market Makers, Bucharest, 2016
Expo " Inventar", 2019

Previous projects

POST-INDUSTRIAL STORIES (photography album), a project by Ioana Cîrlig and Marin Raica, co-financed by the AFCN in 2013, won second place in the 2014 LensCulture Exposure Awards and first place in the Portrait category of the 2016 Balkan Photo Awards; it was a finalist in the 2016 Kuala Lumpur Photoawards 2016 and the 2016 Fotofilmic Traveling Exhibition. Between 2012 and 2019, Post-Industrial Stories was shown in Venice, Paris (the 2019 Circulation(s) Festival, the 2017 La Quatrième Image Festival), London (Photo London), Kuala Lumpur, The Hague, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, and Vancouver. Materials from it, including interviews and various selections of works, appeared in Der Spiegel, the Inge Morath Magazine, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Feature Shoot, Lensculture, Internazionale, It’s Nice That etc. In 2019 it won the Fujifilm Award.

MÂNDRIE ȘI BETON (Pride and Concrete, photography album & dedicated website), a project by Petruț Călinescu and Ioana Călinescu, co-financed by the AFCN, was exposed in Berlin, London, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Vienna, and Kaunas (Lithuania). The corresponding short film was included in several specialised festivals (Lisbon, Budapest, Vienna etc). The bilingual website continues to draw traffic from several countries, and in March 2018 the creators were invited to show Mândrie și beton (finished in 2012 with support from the AFCN) in the Live Magazine show, in front of a public of 1.500, at the Casino de Paris.

Din expozitia „Zâne”, proiect de Ioana Cîrlig, Foto: Horia Petrașcu


International recognition

  • Petruț Călinescu won first place in the Photo Stories category of the 2018 Balkan Photo Awards.
  • Ioana Cîrlig won first place in the Portrait category of the 2016and second place in the 2014 LensCulture Exposure Awards.

Internațional / Sezonul România-Franța 2019

Photographer Ioana Cîrlig (co-founder of the CdFD) was invited to expose her works in Paris in 2019 as part of the European young photography festival "Circulation(s)", at Le Centquatre-Paris, in the Focus Romania section, created in partnership with Sezonul România-Franța 2019. Following her participation in the festival, Ioana Cîrlig won the Fujifilm Award and will have a personal exhibition at the Fisheye Gallery in Paris in 2020, as well as a portfolio article in the famous Fisheye Magazine.

Photographer Petruț Călinescu (co-founder of the CdFD) was invited, as part of the Sezonul România-Franța, to expose his works in the La Chambre gallery in Strasbourg with young French photographer Leslie Moquin.