Beyond The Saltflats [2015]


From the Middle Ages until the early 20th century the town of Turda in Transylvania, Romania was famous for its salt mining industry. In 1932, the salt mines closed, leaving much of the community unemployed and the quarries derelict. In 2009, the European Union funded renovations to the salt quarries with health spars opening soon after.


During the summer months, elderly locals in Turda can be found bathing on the mud flats or swimming in the waterfilled salt quarries. The clay treatments are used to ease the effects of degenerative rheumatic conditions in preparation for the bitterly cold winter months.


Nikolai, an 80-year-old Turda resident, stands as his son applies scorching black clay to his arms and back. He is one of many locals standing uninhibited, bare-chested and beaming in the 28-degree heat, "Ceaușescu removed the bars and theatres. He removed our community. Then we were suddenly free. [After fall of Ceaușescu's regime] We didn't know what to do, so we went to the mud flats".


Andrei, a 30-year-old former truck driver, stands beside me, "It's a free space for Romanians, Romas, whoever. We are all covered in clay, and we are all here to heal."





old couple elderly kissing in mud in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
mud hand in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
mud face in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
man chest with christian cross in mud in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
muddy water in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
boy in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
muddy body in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
cracked earth in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
mud foot in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
topless woman in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
woman in bikini in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
Man in the reeds in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
woman smiling in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
breast cleavage in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
knees in mud in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
man in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
man in muddy water in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
feet in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
man with water in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
kissing couple in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
man chest crucifix with christian cross in mud in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
old man in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
muddy legs in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
woman in bikini in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
salt crystals in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
woman with hat in mud in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
muddy womens body in turda Transylvania Romania by photographer photojournalist Emily Garthwaite
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