Intimate Photographs from a Romanian Women’s Prison

Over two months, photographer Cosmin Bumbut‘s prison workshop has amassed some 14,000 images, all taken within a Romanian women’s penitentiary by 14 inmates sharing six Canon PowerShot cameras, with basic photography instruction. These women captured intimate and social nuances of this sequestered life, both foreign to American readers and inaccessible to outsiders: the shifting gender roles, the menial hobbies, the scars, the sisterly bonds — all set in an iron-barred common room. Despite the comparative comforts and exposure to sunshine allowed by this minimum security prison, there is a constant, punishing oppression visible throughout. It comes crashing in, crushing, compacting the tenderness and the tension in each photograph. See them in our gallery and then explore the project further.


Image credit: Cosmin Bumbut.