Romania seems to have a habit of breaking things ( bones, stomachs, film and cameras) . It seems like this project is out to test me in many ways. But I’m learning; not to drink unpasteurized milk, not to buy film off ebay and to invest in a back up camera. Last week was a fleeting and slightly unsuccessful one but any time in Romania feels like a luxury. Escaping to the mountains to embrace the wild was pure bliss. Katherine joined again and this will be my last trip for a while as dollar has totally run dry. Despite this it seemed like I didn’t shoot enough and left feeling a little disheartened.
What’s it for? Seems to be a question that people often ask about projects, which I find strange. I would never ask a writer why they were writing a novel, a musician why they were playing an instrument and for me, the same applies to personal work. Why? Because its fun, I’m learning a craft and it’s a challenge.
In Costiui a very old and charming school resides. Classrooms are decorated with beautiful posters from at least 20 years ago and the furniture has lived there much longer than any of the students. It was a place I had wanted to revisit for some time now and after much assistance with gaining permission and several trips to meet those in charge I dedicated a day with Katherine to shooting in the school. A few adorable students enthusiastically offered to be involved and seemed to have fun as we all took pictures in between the giggling and sweet munching. As the day progressed I asked my translator to pop out and fetch some bread and cheese to make sandwiches. When he returned they appeared miffed. Bread and cheese in a sandwich? It was clearly a British novelty but they seemed to wolf it all down in the baking sunshine.
I showed Katherine the incredible treasure trove of props held in the storeroom and we spent a good hour delving though specimen jars of newts and insects before returning back to the children with an offering of balloons. I’m not sure the shoot worked but either way it was inspiring to be in such a rich environment laden with character and history. This image is from the storeroom where so many treats were held in time.
Just before I left for Romania Purim struck Stamford Hill and it was as wild as ever. I always find it a very difficult day to capture. The streets are overwhelmingly crowded with Hassidic Jews sporting fancy dress and the exotic attire imminently becomes the norm ; searching for surreal moments amongst an untouched backdrop is a challenge. At first it is captivating but only too soon does it become confusing with the sheer multitude of information. I snapped this family portrait when passing to meet a friend. The level of commitment for the occasion really is impressive…oao x