I took these photos in June 1998. I perfectly remember that sunny and carefree day. I was with Oti, my childhood friend and Liviu, her boyfriend and lifelong partner and my friend. We were visiting these courtyards and staircases of houses that were a background for our childhood games. Oti lived in one of these houses and I used to visit her often. These were old buildings nationalized by the communist regime and transformed in apartment buildings for regular people like us. Most of these apartments weren’t the most comfortable places to live in (some of them had shared bathrooms and most of them didn’t have central heating) but they were beautiful and fascinating places for me. I always lived in socialist apartment buildings and Oti’s place, with the big rooms and high ceilings and unusual layout (we could run in a circle from room to room) seemed so mysterious and beautiful and intriguing. At some point, Oti’s family sold the apartment, but I’m quite sure that in the day we took these photos it was still theirs, accessible to us to just walk in if we wanted to.
When we took these photos, our childhood was not so far away yet, felt still accessible to us and also these courtyards were still the same.
I don’t think many regular people are still living in these very central and very expensive apartments. Most of the apartments are now lawyer’s offices and such. I entered Oti’s building once to go to a notary office and I had such a ghostly feeling of familiarity and strangeness. Oti told me she prefers not to enter her old building.
Something much more important and sad and life altering than these courtyards changed too since that day.
When I searched for the film to scan it, I hoped to find also pictures of us on it. There’s only a pretty photo of Oti, but Liviu or me are not in the images. I would have loved to have now a photo of Liviu from that day. I’m sure Oti feels the same.