In 1884, Timișoara became Europe’s first town with electric streetlights. Now, over 130 years later, Romania still has 100.000 households with no electricity, according to the Minister of Energy. That means about half a million people living without electricity. On the other hand, Romania is also the country where over 30.000 lightbulbs are replaced and thrown away each day. Because of that, almost 55 kilograms of mercury end up in the soil each year. Following an invitation from Recolamp, we made a portrait of Romania after sunset, which grew into a book. We travelled across the country documenting the country by bulblight and how electric lighting, or lack thereof, shapes people’s lives and underscores their social status. Just like sunset over one part of the globe brings sunrise over the other, when darkness falls rural Romania remains still, as if plunged in a black, silent chasm. While people in villages go into their homes to sleep, on the seafront and in the cities the fun is just beginning: countless lightbulbs come on blindingly, in flamboyant advertising displays, to attract consumers much like natural predators attract prey.
With the support of Recolamp NGO. Recolamp.