It was about 8 a.m. in July, the concert had finished and we were ghosts walking back home through the Park Carol. And then something amazing happened. We started noticing things around us: the two boys and the girl sitting by the shore of the lake, the incredible peace surrounding them, the silence, the light, the trees, the slow movement of the leaves. Catrinel laid on the grass; I had never seen her before so peaceful and in such awe. It was like she was seeing beauty for the first time. We were talking but somehow kept it silent. As for me, I felt like I had just been able to wake up in a dream and be conscious about it.
I sometimes forget the reason why I photograph. It has no meaning anymore. And then I stop or I go on, but only because it is already a custom.
I used to have a photography bug a few years ago. But then I had a shitty camera. Now I have a better camera, some more experience, I can organize a project, but I lost that enthusiasm.
But then again, I can’t stop. I think it is because taking pictures has become part of my identity, of the way I perceive myself and I represent myself to the world. I think it happens to many people. Certain experiences, meanings, relations wear off, but you continue them, because they define you and you don’t know how to define yourself outside these parameters.
What is truly mysterious and great to me are the people that are able to keep their enthusiasm for a long time. Maybe it is possible because they keep discovering new things about that certain aspect.
Maybe it is precisely this capacity of understanding that the enthusiasm can wear off and that you have to find by yourself, consciously sometimes, new sides to the issue.
These are some lines I wrote a few days ago in Vama Veche, after a period of not taking pictures, pressure because of that and then shame about feeling guilty and under pressure for such a thing.
However, writing this was pretty helpful and that afternoon I was able to stroll along the beach and enjoy watching people. And taking some pictures of them.
I guess I just have to remember that photography is always a mix of fun, pressure, conscious effort and some grace (but only very seldom).
I’ve always thought that if you stay long enough in a place, you start observing stories; pieces come together like a puzzle. I realized that this is a main characteristic of all public spaces. They are all heavy with personal stories, some of them in embryonic phase, other close to the end.
So this is an essay on the stories a public space can bring to light and it starts with the Museumsquartier, in Wien. The first part was about the kids that carelessly and uncaringly hang around the museums; this part goes about some temporary guests in the Museumsquartier.
As I was sitting on a bench, I noticed an inflation of some well-organized pink t-shirts; some random Chinese tourists, I thought at first. What was weird about these tourists is that new groups of pink t-shirts kept showing up and they all seemed a bit lost, but enthusiastically happy. I followed them and this is how I got in the backstages of Tanzquartier, a place inside the Museumquartier, destined for dance shows. The tourists proved to be groups of dancers from the huge territory of China and in a few hours they were having a show.
As I watched them rehearsing, I was amazed by their incredible discrete moves and powerful costumes. However, at some point I managed to get in the dressing rooms and there was a whole different world. The dancers were lying tired on the floor, putting make up and unwilling to be photographed. They closed the doors so I didn’t take any more photos.
Outside, a group kept practicing. It was made up of women over 60, tired and yet graceful. These ones didn’t mind the pictures. I thought it’s because they had their costumes on. What those in the dressing rooms disliked were not the pictures, but the idea of being photographed not with a glowing, beautiful costume, but with weary faces and normal clothes.
One of the dancers invited me to eat with them. So there I was, eating rice with a bunch of old Chinese dancers, smiling to each other, and not being able to exchange a word.
The show started at 7.30. After traveling thousands of km, each group had about 15 minutes at disposal to show their history of dance.
While watching the dances I couldn’t stop thinking about the real life of these women in China.
One of them gave me the address of her daughter in Beijing, in order for me to send her the pictures and have a place to stay over, in case I would visit their country. The daughter never answered the email..