TRANSYLVANIA

Two uniformed police officers slouch at the other end of an empty first-class carriage, diligently tapping screens and half-listening to four Hungarian ticket officers telling stories of ticket-touts and stowaways. They all laugh politely at yet another joke told by a mildly overweight aging male inspector, his glasses propped on the end of his nose as if waiting for the green-light to jump. Everything is calm. Five hours into a twenty-hour journey on the CFR operated train running overnight from Vienna to Bucharest, this is the Romanian Red Eye.

With twenty hours to go, we board the overnight train from Vienna to Bucharest, except the Austrian operated OEBB train has broken down somewhere up the line. Instead, Romanian operated CFR step in and send up one of their iconic specimens from the 1980s, but the sleeper carriage hasn’t arrived and a fight ensues on the platform between irate ticket guard and angry grandma. I place a bet on Grandma and duly find a seat in the first-class carriage. Upgrades are all well and good, but I’d have preferred a bed.

Twenty hours sitting stationary in an air-conditioned first-class carriage sounds fairly nice when it’s hitting the mid-thirties outside, but we’re dressed for a hot night in an economy sleeper, and within thirty minutes start shaking from the icy air permeating the ruby-red interior of the empty carriage.

Midnight passes and our carriage, having stopped at Budapest to take on a small contingent of misfits looking to head east, now resembles a no-mans-land of strewn bodies trying to make the best of a missing sleeper. To find the toilet is to play pick-a-stick with lifeless limbs as you tiptoe across a zombie wasteland. The occasional snore causes a monumental shift in limb positions, requiring toilet-goers to find a different route each time. We go easy on the water.

1 am approaches and a man sits down behind me, he must have gotten on at the border. His face reflects in the black mirror of our shared window, the forlorn and slightly deranged stare out into oblivion silently betraying his acute drunkenness.

As the night deepens a new sense of panic resonates through the trundling three-carriage train; mobile devices have started to run out of juice, but there’s only one carriage with electricity. Bags of dead devices are soon being smuggled in from other carriages in a time-tested movement of ‘lost people looking for the toilet’. Once plugged in the devices diligently alert the general public that they have indeed been plugged in and are thankful for the top-up. The charging points are temperamental with cut-outs every few minutes, the phones, however, are keen to reiterate their thanks as the power returns. It’s an endless, sleepless night.

As 3 am chimes, a woman staggers through from second class, no bag of dead devices this time. She momentarily becomes the focus of the entire carriage as the sliding doors clatter closed, waking everyone up from their awkward slumber. Covered in a heavy layer of sweat, shirt saturated, hair strands pasted across her face, she poses under an a/c unit shaking her hair in a subtly sultry manner, evidently cooling down from the lack of a/c elsewhere on the train. The scene briefly looks like a cheap beer commercial from time past, just without the beer. Chuckling, I return to staring at my reflection in the window, contemplating cold beer and comfy beds.

The Nun

D800e / 500 f4 / Transylvania

Time to scare away the bad. A nun walks the circumference of one of the many painted monasteries here in Transylvania. As she goes, she beats a wooden stick to the rhythmic chants of bible verses pouring through loudspeakers.

The Potter

D4 / 35 f1.4 / Transylvania

The Smith

D800e / 70 – 200 f2.8 / Transylvania

The Tourists

D800e / 70 – 200 f2.8 / Transylvania

Paddling Dog

D800e / 70 – 200 f2.8 / Transylvania

Untitled

D800e / 70 – 200 f2.8 / Transylvania

On A Bear Hunt

D800e / 70 – 200 f2.8 / Transylvania

A Winter Lake

D800e / 14 – 28 f2.8 / Transylvania

Under the bypass

D800e / 70 – 200 f2.8 / Bucharesti

Flight Path to Bucharest

D800e / 14 – 24 f2.8 / Bucharesti

WHY #10IMG?

Because it makes me a stronger photographer.

I found that after 15 years shooting digital my field-work attitude had shifted for the worse; I became accustomed to the high FPS my Nikons could turn over, became lazy when bracketing for HDR, began to abuse high ISO and just accepted the grain in all weather. I’d even leave my tripod at home and just make do with image stabilistion. Above all, I’d become lazy, relying on technology to finish a process I’d start in my mind. I didn't start like that during my analog, it just slowly happened, and I'd soon lost track of why I picked up a camera to begin with.

So I changed.

Forcing ourselves to select a small number of images amongst an infinite number of possibilities enables us to think deeper about our photography, it gives us motivation and focus during times of lack-luster malaise, and it aligns our thoughts, encouraging thematic expression in collections. In a sense, it's a mix of film and digital mentality; sure you can shoot as many as you like, practice technique, play with ideas, really make use of the benefits digital offers. But no matter how many you shoot, you can only display 10, no more. So think a while before you shoot, what is it you're actually doing?

It's worth noting that 10IMG isn't about obsessive image matching for competitions or exhibitions, nor is it particularly constrained when choosing images for individual pools; think of it as a guiding principle designed to maintain standards and encourage exploration in photography and art as you move through life.

With regards to my photography, I use #10IMG to reduce my collections to only the images I deem fit for purpose; that is to say, those images which affected me the most when shot, or images which exhibit an iconic quality in terms of subject matter or juxtaposition, or even images which contrast with one another in every way possible.

Barnaby Jaco Skinner
Photographer & Artist

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