Covering stories from Romania with a strong focus on Roma issues doesn’t make me very popular. The only satisfaction I get from the modest recognition I have received so far is that it gives me the opportunity to place such unpopular social issues on the worldwide media agenda. I enjoy making people look when all they want to do is turn a blind eye.
Mugur won in 2010 the first CNN iReport Award – Compelling Imagery
A picture of a Roma teenager taken by Mugur Varzariu from Romania with an EOS 5D Mark II has been chosen by Io Donna’s Renata Ferri as her favourite image from the thousands uploaded to the ‘Closeness’ category of Editor’s Choice 3 in November. The Public’s choice, made from Ferri’s 30-image shortlist, was a photo by Lars-Kjeld Riedel from Germany.
Each year, UNICEF Germany grants the “UNICEF Photo of the Year Award” to photos and photo series that best depict the personality and living conditions of children all around the world. In 2011 Mugur was awarded the Honorable Mention distinction.
Mugur’s work on Syria was screened in 2011 at Visa pour l’Image, the premier International Festival of Photojournalism held in Perpignan, France.
Nominated by B1 TV and included in the joint media campain for social actualisation “Romanians that change Romania”/ “Cine schimbă România”.
In December 2012 Mugur received the Excellency Award for Social Activism from ANR (Romanian National Agency for Roma People).
From the many thousands of entries to Editor’s Choice 3, submitted by over 2,000 photographers, one of Mugur’s images was chosen as one of the favorite three images of the Guest Editors.
Mugur’s work on the plight of the Roma people in Romania was screened in 2012 at Visa pour l’Image, the premier International Festival of Photojournalism held in Perpignan, France.
First Romanian part of Canon Ambassadors Programme. Canon Europe’s Ambassadors Programme includes both Ambassadors – some of the world’s greatest photographers who are masters of their craft – and Explorers, who are nationally renowned photographers and filmmakers from across Europe. The Ambassadors share their skills and knowledge at various Canon workshops and seminars held through the year right across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Explorers operate from within their own country, sharing their passion for the Canon brand with like-minded professionals at various regional events.
Mugur’s work on the plight of the Roma people in Romania was screened in 2014 at Visa Pour l’Image, the premier International Festival of Photojournalism held in Perpignan, France.
“World Vision Romania’s belief in education and involvement in consolidating access to education for children from disadvantaged areas have made me accept the proposal to become the foundation’s ambassador. United in this way, our two voices will make the only voice that really counts be better heard, namely the voice of all children in Romania, regardless of ethnic group or social class”, says Mugur Varzariu, a renowned documentary photographer who in his images emotively captures the reality of life for the most vulnerable members of our society. Thanks to his tireless work, solely with the help of ideas and a camera, Mugur attempts, with vision and sensitivity, to convey to all Romanians and to people everywhere a message of non-discrimination and tolerance.
Using the power of example, Mugur is an advocate of change, a model to be followed by all those who wish by their own actions to make the world in which we live a better place. This is why he became a World Vision ambassador in 2014. In May 2014 he did his first photo session in our foundation’s communities in Dolj county, documenting the life of Romania’s most vulnerable children. At the June launch of the 2014 Report on the Wellbeing of Children from Rural Areas, he spoke of his creed and his work as an ambassador for our foundation and presented a selection of the photographs he had taken.
Over the last three years, his work has covered delicate subjects in Romanian society, such as poverty and tolerance. Working singlehanded, more often than not as a volunteer, Mugur has no greater satisfaction than to come to the aid of the vulnerable, marginalised and discriminated. Despite the actions of local authorities, many Roma communities in various parts of the country still have a roof over their heads thanks to Mugur’s commitment and efforts.
The Academy of Economic Studies, an EMBA, three years of Law, and more than sixteen years of marketing and strategy have contributed to shaping Mugur in the spirit of identifying and understanding problems of every kind, as well as finding solutions to them. His work is visible, tangible, real. The combination of ideas, words and images makes Mugur a formidable adversary to all those who infringe fundamental human rights.
Since 2013, Mugur has been giving talks to students and schoolchildren from Romania and abroad about social activism through photography, thereby trying to bring about a change in the souls of young people getting ready to conquer the world.
“I strongly believe that the statement ‘young people don’t care about anything nowadays’ is completely false. The only people who have changed, but not for the better, are we adults. Parents too busy with everyday survival, teachers without a vocation, and a completely corrupt mass media deprive children of models worthy of being followed. I work tirelessly to provide children with such a model, and their reaction up to now gives me hope in a better future”, says Mugur.
But none of this would have been possible without the support and understanding of his wife. Mugur wants to pass down to his two sons, the most priceless gift, that of human dignity and goodness.
With the support of ICR, my work ‘Roma Always’ was exhibited during the International Photography Festival in Tel Aviv. During my one week stay I was invited to lecture and to host a gallery talk.
Aaron Schuman, the curator of the CONNECT Juried Show selected Mugur and his images as part of our first exclusive Network Juried Exhibition.