Bucharest Transit

Our world changes all the time. Every step we take outside our daily routine engraves a disparate impression on our memory. Our entire experience becomes the sum of isolated, flimsy moments. The fabric of time only connects these instances to create the illusion of a continuous flow, where change, or progress, appears uninterrupted.

Photography does not only posses the quality of stripping down change to a few basic parts by erasing time from the equation, but further allows the author to manipulate the meaning of change. Photography is nothing more than a “fiction about metaphor”, as the famous British photographer Chris Killip used to say. “Fiction” because the medium of representation, be it film or digital with their respective technical limitations, represents an artificial substitute for the real image, as perceived by the human eye.  And “metaphor” because of the artist’s conscious attempt to imbue personal meaning in the recording of still life images.

In that sense photography becomes similar to storytelling. Each time we look at a photograph we try to imagine what the author attempted to convey. We think about his or her relationship to the chosen subjects, about the social context in which s/he lived, about the thought processes that influenced the photographer’s work. All these elements create a unique story around an image or a set of images.

Bucharest-Transit represents a series of photographs that depict my own perception of the rapid changes that have been affecting the center of the city. There is a perpetual tension between old and new, between past and future, a struggle for survival where everything new is born out of or grown on top of the old. Present is only a delicate state, just as short as the quick snapping of the camera shutter. The very instant it closes, the image carved on film attests to a past event that may or may not have happened. Even if time is left outside, its ever altering presence is felt through the seasonal changes that leave decaying markings on old buildings and stir new hopes or desperations among the people who inhabit the city.

My Bucharest is caught in a maelstrom of transformations that I’m part of. If I don’t record some bits of this unstoppable process, I feel that I’m left outside. Some scenes that I photographed only two years ago no longer exist. If it weren’t for all those solitary strides through the city, I might have never remembered the way some old buildings used to look before they were transformed in warm, cozy pubs, or how kids used to play in the muddy streets of the Lipscani quarter. Thus my photographs help me remember how I perceived certain events in the past and tell a story about some of the actors with whom I accidentally crossed paths while being caught together in the larger transformation process.

 

To view the Bucharest Transit Gallery, please click here.

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