Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ciocan. Christian Ciocan.

About a month ago, I had to photograph Christian Ciocan, the spokesman for Bucharest Police, for DOR magazine. He is an interesting character and we had fun shooting this.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Serbia 10. Orthodox Kindergarten

Serbia has one Orthodox kindergarten. How is this different from any other kindergarten in the country? While the children study English, ballet or sports a few times a week, Orthodox religion is a class they have every day. They hear stories about their saints and get to learn prayers. The Patriarch himself comes to visit every now and then.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Serbia 09. Red Star vs. Partizan vs. Police

Historical football derby in Belgrade: Red Star vs. Partizan. The country's best teams, whose stadiums are a few hundred meters apart. Police presence at the game: 5000 +. Fans sang throughout the game, which was great to witness. Surprisingly, there was no violence after the game. Which the media attributes to fear of recent legislative efforts to outlaw the fan brigades.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Serbia 07. Novi Beograd

New Belgrade is a neighbourhood of Belgrade, built in 1947 on the left bank of the Sava river. About five hundred thousand people live together in this huge complex.

As I'm walking through with my friend Mladen, we talk of Ceausescu, who must have been so envious of Tito for creating the ideal communist development. Even though it seems cold and lonely out there, I get the same feeling I got in East Berlin: their communism was better than ours. While the tall, grey buildings resemble those in Romanian cities, there is more space between, more room to breathe. I'll try to get back to that fascinating area before I leave Belgrade.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Serbia 06. Faculty of Orthodox Theology

After taking the wrong bus and walking for miles, I end up in front of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology. I confidently walk into the building, although I had no appointment and knew no one there. Let alone I speak no Serbian. I show the doorman the name of the dean, carefully written in my small notebook. He could not agree more, that is the dean. However, the doorman speaks no English. He tries to get some students to help. No one cares to stop. At some point, a professor passes by. "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" he kindly asks. Last time I did speak some German was many years ago. Still, I try my best and it seems that despite the severe mutilation of German grammar and vocabulary, I can get my point across.

I wait in front of the dean's office. It's Friday afternoon and he is out for lunch. While waiting, a young student asks me a few quick questions in Serbian, before I have the time to defend myself with the phrase I've come to master: "ja ne govorim srbski". His name is Mladen, we switch to English and exchange a few words. I try to explain what I'm doing in Serbia. He listens, nods politely, then leaves.

The dean's secretary tells me to come back on Monday if the dean is not back by 3pm. An hour passes and it's 3:15. I get out of the school and head for the closest bus stop. On the sidewalk, I run into Mladen. "Hey, where you're going? You have something to do now?" I obviously did not.

Mladen took me to the church in which he chants, then we headed back to school for the evening prayer, a very interesting, somewhat intimate and mysterious ceremony. Which he invited me to photograph. We returned to the evening prayer yesterday, to photograph it one more time. Thanks, Mladen!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rural Life in Northern Romania

On assignment for the World Bank about two weeks ago, I've had the privilege to spend some time with Gheorghe Giurgiu, a very hardworking man who raises water buffaloes in the village of Libotin, in Northern Romania. The images below were taken when Mr. Giurgiu went to a forest near his village to get some firewood for the shepherds who keep his sheep.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Serbia 05. Djunis Pilgrimage

The legend says that on 24th of July, 1898, a thirteen-year old girl named Jocic Milojka, from Djunis, met the Virgin Mary while going to get water. Mary threw a stone and demanded that a church be built around it, to serve the sick and troubled. A small chapel was built and, as the number of visitors began to grow, a church was built next to it.

It is supposed to be one of the most popular places of pilgrimage for the Orthodox in Serbia. On the night of October 13th, before the feast of the Veil of Our Lady, people gather there and pray until sunrise. Many believe that those with a clean soul can spot the profile of the Virgin Mary in the horizon in the early hours of the morning (photo 3).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Serbia 04. Anti-Gay Pride Riots

Approximately 5000 policemen were deployed in the center of Belgrade to protect the gay parade, in what the media described as an attempt by the Serbian government to prove their ability to protect citizen's rights. Hundreds of protesters tried to break through the police blockades. Chaos followed.