‘It symbolises the end of the year and the new one beginning’: folk dance in Romania

Our series on evocative travel photographs continues with Alecsandra Raluca Drăgoi documenting traditional Romanian folk festivals

The photograph is part of a personal project called Ritual, which documents costumes and traditions across the north-east of Romania. In 2018, I spent the winter travelling to various festivals where I set up a mobile studio to photograph the participants in their costumes in front of a black backdrop. These festivals are unique and have an incredible energy – everyone has a great time dancing and singing. This particular image was captured at a festival in Botoșani.

It’s different from the rest of the series because of the colourful costumes and the size of the group. And getting them to stand against the snow created a good contrast. First, I asked them to pose, but after a few seconds I asked them to dance so I could capture more of the detail in their costumes, which have been very well preserved over the years.

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