Romanian photographer Mihnea Turcu is located in Bucharest and has traveled extensively both in Romania and around the world. His work is based around capturing the essence of humanity in the most traditional corners of his country.
Romania is the gem of eastern Europe. Stunning mountain landscapes, traditional rural life and some of the most hospitable people in Europe. Despite its often damaging stereotypes, Romania is a country that will tug on your heartstrings and make you want to come back. With good accessibility and accommodation across the country, this will be an incredible adventure without losing too much comfort.
Why is now the best time to visit Romania? Due to Romania’s underdeveloped road infrastructure, its continuous oscillation between East and West and the lack of regional investments, most of the country has been kept back developmentally. Uniquely for most of Europe, in Romania you can still find patches of traditional, untouched life, a way of living in connection with the nature and old people with a heart full of spirituality. Economic conditions, globalization and modernization have washed away the rural civilizations in many parts of Western Europe. Romania gives a unique opportunity to explore a European culture still in parts totally dependent on the people and their land. Romania has such richness waiting to be discovered in the souls of the rural people.
We keep our tours very intimate and off the beaten track. Max 4-6 participants and the chance to truly explore rural Romania. No stiff setups for taking photos: what you get is a real glimpse into the life of Europe’s last true peasants.
Some places and some of the scenes need to be treated with a gentle touch, in such a way that we do not interfere with the natural vibe of the scene. We document life and observe its finest reactions and subtle expressions. This is why we never stage shots and we never interfere with the story. It either happens and we catch it naturally, or it doesn't and we shall be on our way to the next possible scene.
Mihnea will be your trusted guide, translating, explaining and joining you in the photographic process. We shall close each day with evening discussions. We consider it very important to share ideas, think of improvements, pass over cultural blockages and comment on the best photos. All this end of day information will help you notice little improvements in the next day. By the end of the 11th day you will belong to a group of friends with wonderful memories and great photographs. After all, this adventure is all about an amazing life experience and getting to know Romania’s warm heart.
The 4 tours we are currently running in Romania have been perfectly spread across the four seasons as we want to witness the life cycle across the year. Each single tour is built around a very important religious ceremony in such a way that we get access to locals’ most personal religious behaviors.
Adventurer by name, adventurous by nature. Our Adventurer tours are for those of you who love to take the path less beaten, to explore beneath the skin of a country and to find those magical moments of authenticity. To hear stories from those who live the wonderful cultures of this planet and to photograph real life, as we find it, wherever that may be.
“Warming up the souls of the dead”. One of the last remaining pagan customs left in the south of Romania, dating centuries ago, begins early in the night and lights up the entire cemetery through the first rays of the rising sun.
Get inside 14th-16th century Maramures wooden churches, join the locals whilst they’re preparing for the Easter ceremony, watch the light doing its magic through the small, wooden windows. Mix with the village crowd during the most sacred religious ceremony on Saturday night. The visible world shuts down at midnight and everything is lit solely by candlelight.
Photograph people in their traditional houses. Get to know their life stories and observe the most expressive environmental portraits. Join them and photograph the cooking of Romania’s most delicious Easter dishes.
Explore one of the oldest villages in the Apuseni Mountains and its disappearing traditional culture as we leave Maramures and get back to the south of Romania.
If you plan to arrive into Bucharest, the capital of Romania, prior to Day 1, we will be happy to make all the arrangements for you. No worries about the airport hustle, as Mihnea will be there waiting for you.
During the ‘meet and greet’ dinner we can get to know each other and discuss the next eleven days of our photo tour in Romania. Depending on your arrival time into Bucharest, there may be an opportunity for you to explore the city during the afternoon and see the famous sites such as the Ceausescu Palace, Bucharest’s historical center (where you will be located) or Obor, one of the oldest and largest open markets in Eastern Europe.
In case you are into street photography and want to have 1 or 2 days in Bucharest only for that, Mihnea can help you design a good itinerary of the city’s most interesting parts.
During Day 1 we will pick up the latest arriving participants (if that is the case) and get on a 4-hour drive to the south of Romania – Oltenia region, where we will try to catch the early Easter preparations from one of the most picturesque and authentic villages in the area.
Of all historical regions of Romania, we will be wandering into Oltenia, a place generally ignored and underestimated by photographers. Our Romania photo tour will allow almost two full days to explore one of the most intriguing villages of the south. We’ll get to know the people in the village and meet one of the last cross painters of the place.
As Thursday morning approaches, we will get ready to join the locals as early as 4 a.m. into one of the most incredible scenes of worshipers carrying candlelight fire into their cemetery. It is their belief that bringing fire to the graves of their beloved ones will warm up their souls and protect them from darkness.
This is one of the most stunning Easter celebrations anywhere in Europe. Prepare for some unbelievable emotionally scenes that start at fire light deep in the night and end up lit by the rising sun.
By 10 a.m. the entire ceremony is finished and we will be on our way up north to find the beauty of the Romanian Easter. The drive to Maramures is a long one, but we will stop on the way, taking in the landscapes of Central Romania.
Said to be home to the last remaining peasant culture in Europe, Maramures is a wonderful region in Transylvania that is famous for its wooden churches and houses and the traditional costumes people still wear on special occasions. The region is one of the highlights of our Romania photo tours.
Easter is one of the most special times of the year. During our days in Maramures, we will explore the lesser visited villages, photograph people in their homes and during the festivities, where villagers from around the region, wearing their best traditional costumes, will gather around the church to express their devotion in a religious celebration.
If traditional Maramures wooden houses and churches weren’t enough to wet your appetite, then hopefully the epic mountain scenery, incredible hospitality and photogenic locals should do it. Being invited inside houses, witnessing the Easter preparations and cooking are all true moments, part of the Maramures culture.
During this part of the Romania photography workshop, we’ll base ourselves in the heart of Maramures, giving us the freedom of an open schedule to wander through the villages, stopping for food and palinka on the way, discovering what makes Romania so special. You’ll also find that the best images of these regions aren’t set up, they are often the ones we find by wandering and listening to the stories of locals. The Easter night is one of the most special moments: candle lights, the intimacy of the moments and closeness to the people will make for some rare photo opportunities.
In the evenings, Mihnea will be on hand to discuss and critique images, helping you develop your portrait photography and gain a greater understanding of Romanian culture.
As the Easter spirituality slowly fades away, on our way back to Bucharest, we will be visiting another one of Romania’s wonderful treasures – the villages in the Apuseni Mountains.
Many villages here are still frozen in time with old houses and archaic family life. Being so far away from civilization and “protected” by the mountain’s range, communism has been kept away in its strongest decade. This part of the Romania photo tour is your chance to discover a region off the tourist routes and get a true, unadulterated view of the country’s traditional life.
Access to many of the villages in this region will require a steady hike where we can take in the amazing scenery on offer. These days will be some of the longest, but no doubt the most rewarding!
On our final full day of the Romania photography tour, we will make the journey back to Bucharest. This will give us plenty of time to relax and discuss the adventure we’ve had. There will be an opportunity to do a portfolio review and get some post processing advice too. We’ll end the evening with some drinks and food before you depart the following day – hopefully with a hard drive full of amazing photos and wonderful life memories!
We came with open minds and the trip far exceeded our expectations. We very much look forward to returning. Mihnea was a fantastic guide with a deep passion and understanding of photography and the people of Romania. We return to the UK much better photographers, with some great photos, a love of Romania and its people, a determination to return and huge gratitude to Mihnea.
- Judy & Daryl, Oct 2019
Overall I think Romania has a lot to offer and obviously we only scratched the surface. Thanks to your very good preparations and guidance during the trip, I never felt once that we wouldn't get to see enough variety of subjects, didn't have enough time in places etc. I would hope to return to Romania before long and discover more about your absolutely fascinating country.
- Frederik, Oct 2019
I hope the fact that I decided to travel with you for a second time to Romania, also recommending it to George, underlines my satisfaction with the style of your tours. In essence that style is a cocktail comprising a small group size, keen local knowledge, flexible itinerary, local accommodation/food, individual tuition, and most importantly, the opportunity to spend time with people in their home environments. I think I once described it as truly “getting under the skin of a region”.
- Richard Bircham, Oct 2019
So the trip was totally worthwhile both as a photographic experience and a cultural introduction. I have almost entirely positive views about the time.
Mihnea worked so hard to get us to the right places at the right time and we benefited from the hard work he has put in over the years and his patience with the relative lack of skills we have.
Every evening was spent reflecting on our images and he gave both encouragement and constructive criticism of the work. The balance was perfect and so I had plenty of time to indulge my passion for the landscape and improve my skills in environmental portraits.
- George Pearson, Oct 2019
You have a winning formula in re-imagining the traditional idea of a photographic workshop. The mixed ingredients of a small group size, assistance through a proven local, coupled with a flexible, off-the-beaten track itinerary, gave the tour a distinct character…I’ve learnt a lot and will be back for more.
- Richard Bircham, Summer 2015
Jacob’s workshop provided a hands-on learning experience like no other. His intimate approach allowed plenty of personal photographic pursuits with immediate feedback. Knowledgable and personable, he led 11 days of portfolio building, skill refining and confidence-boosting in one of the most unique settings I’ve ever been in.
Of course! If your partner in crime wants to join our adventure they’re more than welcome. All our tours are designed to immerse you fully into the culture of the destinations that we visit. We think even non-photographers would find this pretty fascinating. The only caveat we have is that this is first and foremost a photography adventure and any accompanying non-photographers would be required to stay with us at all times throughout the tour.
Yes. It is a mandatory requirement on all of our tours that each participant has their own travel insurance policy. We highly recommend a travel insurance policy that not only covers medical expenses and repatriation but also covers your personal belongings and liability. For more information on travel insurance and our suggested providers please visit our travel services section.
Also, as a traveller with Intrepid Exposures, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visas and travel documents. Despite the fact we can’t sell you visas directly, we work with a number of partners who can find you the best solution to match your needs. If you need help arranging visas for any of our tours, please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
We will try our very best to cater to any dietary needs, that being said we cannot always guarantee it due to the remoteness of some of the places we stay. We will notify you if this is the case and work with you to come up with a fair solution. As long as you notify us of any requirements or allergies when booking your trip we will do our best to accommodate any needs you have.
Yes, of course! Unfortunately our website doesn't offer this functionality yet. If you wish to pay the deposit and then the remainder in one instalment you can do so using the website. If you would instead like to pay for the trip in its entirety in one payment, please contact us directly and we can advise you on the best way to do this.
We do, but on a trip by trip basis. Some tours naturally lend themselves to extensions, others not so much. Please consult the individual tour pages for more details on the extensions offered. If you would like to create your own personal tour extension, please contact us directly for assistance in doing so.
We do everything in our power to make sure out tours run smoothly, that being said there’s certain things we can’t control. Natural disaster or conflicts in the areas we travel may mean that we have to rearrange our plans and itineraries. However, we will keep a close eye on developments in the areas we travel and notify you if there are any issues or doubts.
In a word, Yes. All our tours are covered by Protected Travel Insurance (PTS). This means that your money goes into a protected bank account and can’t be accessed by us until you get back from your trip, so should anything happen your money is 100% protected. Find out more