Tag Archives: street

Black and White Paradise

Recently I saw the Paul Strand exhibition at the V&A in London. One of the first images, the famous “The White Fence”, came with a quote talking about the idea of a perfect black and white image according to traditional ideas (grey scale ranging from dark black to white including all mid tones). It’s amazing to read how thoughtful and mindful photographers like Strand crafted their images.

On my first trip to New York I captured four images that in my option are close to an ideal black and white image. Two are high contrast with almost only black or white values, two are very balanced. I am not too technical but reading about the early masters and their struggle to achieve perfection reminds me to appreciate the incredible effort and knowledge hidden in each photograph.

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Streetlife

On the street we also visited the infamous area next to the central train station in Bucharest. It used to be the centre for all the homeless and drug addicts. A little hole in the earth in an adjacent park used to be the entrance to the underworld – the sewers of the city where thousands lived.

When I visited the canal was closed down, the entrance still visible but not accessible. Right next to the station a derelict building. A large group of heavily addicted people still lived there. It had a roof but no walls. It was summer and very hot. Carpets and blankets protected the community from the outside stares. But no one really cared. They were in the middle of everything but invisible.

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The inside was hot, steamy and dark. Just a few slits let some daylight in. The worst imagination became reality. The rumours of kids taking drugsĀ at a very early age, sniffing glue. That’s a sight one never forgets. To be robbed of probably the most valuable time in your life – your childhood. Young bodies with old eyes. Not even desperation, just bland indifference towards the outside world. No desire, no joy just pure nothingness. And still there were kids. With a life ahead of them.

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The local community boss let me into his private chamber. He had his own little separated area and was very proud of it. Being very protective he kept always very close to me. Not in a mean way, not offending or threatening… just making sure everything was all right with his people.

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Author: Benjamin Kaufmann, #benjaminkaufmann