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The Face Of Our Past
THE FACE OF OUR PAST
This is not a project with a heavy intro...
A short explanation:
Two years ago, in the autumn of 2005, I was walking my usual boring route from work to home. On the way home, travelling by the city train, I decided to visit the local market for some shopping. Nothing important to buy but still I had hunger. In front of the market he was standing so proudly, accumbented on the wall near the scroll doors made of glass. It was obvious that he was pretty old, but still in very good shape. He was carrying a big plastic bag… I wanted to take a photo of him immediately, imagining how he is going to look antique and cool at the same time.
Well, a couple of days before I had bought a new digital camera. I just switched to manual control and started to shoot worrying how the whole thing will turn out on the images in the end. Immediately, the owner was there, obviously having finished his shopping. In a split second he removed the bag from my photographic model and started to suggest how it’s going to look better. 'Come, come from this side, look' he said. I was so frustrated, I only needed two minutes. And of course, I felt like somebody else was pushing my finger on the trigger. I didn’t feel good… because I had something else on my mind. Then I just quit photographing because the old man started to talk about his bicycle, and I thought 'O.K., I will probably hear a wonderful story about a young man…'
He said that he got the bicycle as a present from a German soldier after the end of the Second World War. The bicycle was made in 1904. A special edition with a solidly constructed body and enlightened wheels. The object seemed so strong and innocent having many marks of decades, but it was a wonderful product. I agreed.
The old man started to talk about how nice the young soldier was. Not being a typical warrior but just a kid taken somewhere from the street to fight. I even saw him in my imagination playing somewhere with his mates, I’ve sensed the smell and sound of chalk scraping simple images on the early concrete streets. And then, I saw a young body in a situation where he did not belong. I agreed.
The old man said that many of the soldiers were basically very polite and kind. 'It was strange', he said, 'that all of us, local people, were terrified of them. But they couldn’t choose then, choose the side, you know.' I agreed (thinking where this conversation is taking us).
The old man then started to talk about the history being changed in a good way. I was confused. He said, 'You know, I have been through many things in my life, even too many. And there is one thing I could tell you for sure. The history of human kind would have been better if those soldiers had been the winners. Their system was much better for us'.
Then we said goodbye to each other.
All the time during our conversation my camera was on my chest. But I pulled the trigger from time to time thinking what will come out later. I didn’t think about composition. I was just concerned about the aperture on my camera, because I knew the sky above his face was going to look pretty burned on those images. Later when I saw the images, I knew that I got something from this story. And what happened with the photographs of the bicycle was even stranger. Six photographs of the bicycle and six photographs of the old man’s face were in a way related.
Then I realized, during our conversation the sky was really burned.
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