"I was adopted when I was four and a half years old. I was sold for 30 million lei and a pair of speakers.
Two years ago when I came to Bucharest everything stopped. My life just stopped. It has gotten way into drugs—I’m talking finding needles on the ground. But I have no aids, I’ve been to the doctor’s two months ago and have my blood test taken. But I do have hepatitis C. I could drop dead any second.”
- Loredana / Gara de Nord
Dandelions is an ongoing documentary photography project of HIV-at-risk women living with addiction in Bucharest, Romania.
Four years ago I travelled to Bucharest to document issues of public health and I got to know Alina, a social worker at the Romanian anti-aids charity ARAS. She took me on board their ambulance as they offered syringe exchange and testing in notorious parts of Bucharest. That night there were women crowding outside the ambulance. It started with Cristina showing me her scars as if she wanted to say “look at what I’ve been through”. She was struggling with addiction working on the streets to pay her bills. There were so many others like her but each with a unique story to be told.
Ever since then I have returned regularly to Bucharest in my quest to document the faces of this forgotten social crisis with a compassionate gaze. I remain moved by these survivors’ resilience and hope to make justice to their stories with this body of work.