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Abandoned Elderly

Michele Zousmer | Romania and Bugaria


Thirty years ago Communism was over. After years of being in this state of control many people, young and old, especially the educated, fled their countries to start a new life in other parts of the world.  New governments took over but life has remained difficult for many.  In both Romania and Bulgaria many older people live in poor isolated rural areas with very low incomes that hardly cover daily food. These people used to work in collective farms during the communist era and their pension is very low. The situation is very serious. Many widows and widowers freeze to death in their homes during the winters. The elderly spend their days collecting wood for fires, wild berries ,herbs and mushrooms for food, growing corn and potatoes as a staple.   Families visit rarely.  Neighbors help when they can.                                     All of us face challenges as we age.  These people spend their last days enduring poverty, living alone and isolated.  These challenges are extreme. So sad. 

I am a humanitarian and fine art photographer. I give voice to marginalized communities and witness to the human experience. My work celebrates the individual’s strength and beauty, as well as their vulnerability and spirit, going beyond how one presents oneself to the world. I believe the visual image creates a lasting impression of emotion, curiosity, love, and ultimately hope and humanity. 

What is important to me in my work is the way my understanding of people and the world deepens. I hope my work inspires others to see that we all matter and to care more profoundly. Engaging in the world and experiencing different viewpoints and traditions, allows for more conversations on diversity.

I travel the world and my images express the dignity of our universal connection. The soulful intimacy of my photos come from developing  relationships with my subjects, spending time in their world and capturing the essence of their culture. The permission they grant me, the openness they offer by inviting me into their world, never ceases to move me. My mind, my eyes and my heart have been opened by these experiences. I want to share them with you.

https/: www.michelezousmer.com




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