At the end of its 2,900 km course, Europe's longest river - the Danube - spreads its countless tentacles over a huge watery plain straddling the border between Romania and Ukraine.
The Danube Delta, Europe's second largest wetland after the great Volga Delta on the Caspian coast, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991 and has remained almost pristine until now, due to its near isolation from urban influence and a thinly spread population of around 20,000.
The Delta's population mixes Romanians, Ukrainians, Turks and Bulgarians with smaller groups of Greeks and Lipovans - Russian Old Believers who fled religious persecution in the 18th century to settle in the wetlands.
Life here revolves around the fishing industry, which is in decline. Rather than focusing on the flawless nature, four Romanian photographers discovered its people and their ways of life. Their stories have been made separately.
All pictures are copyrighted to their authors.
Vlad Basca, 34, is a freelance photographer born in Tulcea, the main town at the gates of the Delta.
“In life, it is not the strongest and the brightest that survive, but the ones who adapt easily to the environment. The Danube Delta is not the friendliest place on Earth, but life finds a way to thrive in these small fishing communities. It’s their stories and moments in their lives that I try to unveil through my photos.”
Aerial view near Tulcea
Vanea, 12 years old, gave up school and joined the fishermen in Sfistofca. one of the most remoted village of Danube Delta
A man pulls his boat in the flodded fields near his house in Partizani
Flooded field, Mila 23
A tired farmer from Chilia is taking a short break
Vanea and Marusa return from fishing, Sfistofca village.
Girls playing in a cradle, Letea village
Sulina, i fishermen pulls his boat away from a ship
A boy looks out the door of the small ferry linking Mila 23 village with Tulcea, the main city of Danube Delta .
A playful fishermen returning home after working shows to the others the size of fish he got today, Sfantu Gheorghe
Herring fishing, Sfantu Gheorghe
The owner of one of the only two shops in Caraorman village carries stocks of bread for his store.
80 years old Perjoc is preparing a meal,
Vanea, a fisherman from Sfistofca village is lunching with his pet Soson
The way to the daily job, by crossing the river which divides Sulina
23 years old Mihail Marian, jailed for rape it`s practicing in the improvised gym of the Chilia prison
Sulina, a boy swimming next to a boat Danube Delta is the largest and best preserved of the European deltas, after the Volga Delta.
Agriculture by rudimentary means in Caraorman.
Senia Sava, 40 years old, suffering for epilepsy, receives a traditional treatment, with suction cups, to relieve his back pains caused by a flu.
Wild horses near Cardon. Many domestic animals are released in the nature, since sometimes they become too many for the villagers needs.
Petrut Calinescu, 39, is a freelance photographer co-founder and photo editor of the Black Sea website.
“My father was born in one of the main cities of Danube Delta, Vilkove, which is today part of Ukraine. My grandparents’ house was full of pictures of fishermen, as my grandfather worked for a fishery. I grow up with strange images of giant sturgeons and catfish, sleeping on a pillow made from the fabric of the sail of a small boat my father had when he was young. When I became a photographer, the Danube Delta and its people was one of the first places I set out to explore.”
Delta channel near Portita, 2011.
Sailing on Old Danube, Braila, 2011.
19 / 19C.A. Rosetti, 2011.
George Popescu, 35, is a freelance photographer based in Bucharest, Romania. “I was born in Bucharest and spent my childhood in the fields of Romania’s southern plains, where the biggest fish you could catch in the village pond were 15 centimetres long. I discovered the Delta quite late, and I was fascinated: it was so different from where I’d lived, but not so far away.”
Morning in Sulina, 2012
Daria and Ignat Cutov. Sfistofca, 2011.
Sfistofca, Romania, 2010.
On a summer afternoon. Sulina, Romania, 2012.
Achim and Maria in their old home. Sfistofca, Romania, 2012.
Villagers wait to participate as extras on a film set. Letea, Romania, 2013.
Achim, a blind man, helps his paralyzed wife, Maria, to stand so he can feed her. Sfistofca, Romania, 2012.
Constantin and Catalina. Letea, Romania, 2012.
Grave digger and his nephew prepare a grave for a funeral on Christmas Eve. Sulina, Romania, 2009
Ships wait their dismantling in the shipyard. Sulina, Romania, 2011.
Picking mulberries. Letea, Romania, 2013.
Octav Postolache, a man with a very interesting story and known as `the Professor` in the area, serves his morning coffee in the neighboring village, C.A. Rosetti, 2012.
A woman and her companion escape the scorching July sun in the channel near the village. Letea, Romania, 2011.
Simion. Sulina, Romania, 2012
Petre collapses on the way to Sulina, between Sfistofca and Cardon, 2011.
Schoolboy portrait in an abandoned home. Sfistofca, Romania, 2011.
The minibus that connects the villages and the town of Sulina. Letea, Romania, 2011.
Fishermen disentangle and clean they nets. Sulina, Romania, 2013.
Antip Listarov sets his gill-nets at dusk in the Black Sea, near Sulina.
Mullet caught in Black Sea, near Sulina
Alex Tomazatos, 26, is a photographer and biologist, currently working on his PHD in the Danube Delta.
“Studying biology and looking at people gave me my own perspective over the biosphere and how the community presents itself as a result of adaptation to the environment. Just like the flora and fauna of the delta, the way of life, the traditions and the problems of these communities have evolved in close correlation to the environment."