Brutalism at home: a photographer’s Instagram account looks at socialist modernist architecture with fresh eyes

25 November 2020

Instagram account @thegirlabroad gives followers an unglamorous, insider’s perspective on the New East’s pervasive brutalist architecture.

The account represents a research platform for Bucharest-based photographer Diana Anghel. She says she became interested in brutalism during her BA in Fashion Communication in London, when she came into contact with the work of young fashion designers who used brutalist or modernist structures in their photo shoots. “That caught my attention because I come from Romania, where brutalism and socialist architecture are generally considered dull and part of everyone’s mundane lives,” she told The Calvert Journal. “This is how I slowly became interested in the impact brutalist architecture has on our state of mind, and the meaning of architecture as a visual inheritance.”

Unlike most Instagram accounts focusing on socialist modernist architecture, @thegirlabroad spotlights both the interior and exterior of public buildings from the socialist era, as well as DIY decoration, and the decay characteristic of the tower block hallways.

For me personally, Instagram is a platform where I post research images from the projects I’m working on,” Anghel said. “I went through different phases with it: it used to give me a daily motivation and kept my interest for photography constantly active to now when I’m more relaxed with it and post less often.”

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