Yearly archives: 2012

Children in winter

The holidays are near, so a friend invited me at the kindergarden, where his daughter and her classmates had a cute little performance, with the girls dressed as snow flakes and the boys as snow men.

kindergarden

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City Lights exhibition opened

I teased about it a few weeks ago, I am part of the City Lights (ro: Luminile Orașului) photo exhibition which opened yesterday evening at F64 in Bucharest. It will stay there a couple of weeks and in January will move at Cărturești near Piața Romană.

city lights
city lights

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Pork and saukeraut

After in previous posts I may have engrossed some with explicit pictures from traditional pig slaughtering>, is probably the time to show some pleasant-looking pork based food. From Caru’ cu bere in Bucharest (the same place I enjoyed papanași a while ago), here’s what they call, in the English language menu “Romanian pork shank served with pan fried sauerkraut, polenta, horseradish and chili pepper” (ro: ciolan de porc cu varză călită, mămăligă, hrean și ardei iute). This is a serving for two, the dish is large enough.

pork and saukerat

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Children and Pig

It was interesting to watch the children reactions at the pig slaughtering, on one hand was the boy, he was a bit grown-up and obviously used with the process. He was excited, eagerly waiting to eat some pig skin. While the men worked to clean the pig, he kept shouting “it looks good!” and “it smells good!”. When done, he didn’t wait for approval to rip and eat some skin.

pig slaughter

On the other hand, for the little girl it was probably not the first time to assist, but maybe the first she understand some part of it. She was unhappy, not liking the color of the pig skin she got to eat: it was red (from the blood). Actually, I don’t like it red either (people claim is softer) and prefer it clean.

pig slaughter

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Kill the pig! We are not a colony!

Something struck me when photographing a traditional pig butchering, a guy told me with pride “Europe should not tell us how to kill the pig!” (background: European Union tries to impose rules for sacrifices of animals raised in rural households, Romanian peasants refuse due to convenience and price increase).
That is the key to read many recent [in/e]volutions in our society: populist politicians protesting “we are not a colony” when EU tries to push us into civilization, modernization, morals or anti-corruption: we keep the old ways, killing the animals with our hands (and eating their blood), we elect known corrupt politicians and delinquent to rule the country.
And then we drink and wait for an elusive deity to save us all. Welcome to Romania!

pig

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Ignat

Is an old tradition in rural Romania to raise pigs, starting from early spring. They may receive a name, Ghiță being a popular choice, and become almost a member of the family: getting carefully feed, being talked to and such. Still, their final mission is to provide food for the family.
Cleverly, the pigs are sacrificed and transformed to food, at the start of the winter: on one hand, the fat pork is consistent food, will help people deal with the cold weather, on the other hand the cold weather will help with preserving the meat (in old times they had no freezers, nature was our big freezer).
On top of that, there is the religious side: is handy to have some special food for the Christmas meals. But… Christmas is preceded by a long fasting period, no meat allowed, but people were clever again, they re-used a Christian holiday, St. Ignatius (Ignat in Romanian) which takes place on 20 December for the pig sacrifice: it leaves enough time to prepare the Christmas food (bacon, sausages, leberwurst and such) and just pretend they know nothing about fasting that day.

ignat

Sorry, pictures with the pig being killed are not included, my aim here is not to shock people but to present a tradition.

Once sacrificed, the big is cleaned: the hair is removed with fire. Traditionally hay was used, but in modern days using a flamethrower is more convenient (powered by the gas one will use in the oven).

ignat

Everything is carefully cleaned: the hair has to go and leave the skin clean and tender (skin is the only part of the pig which can be eaten raw, uncooked: just add some salt).

ignat

Washed, the pig will tart looking like pork, the meat you can buy from the store.

ignat

An important tradition, before the pig to be chopped or even a single part to be eaten, a cross is cut on its forehead and they put some salt on it (from childhood, I was remembering something about holy water too, but I am unsure, it seems not used everywhere). Then the chopping begins.

ignat

With the operations still under progress, is time to bring some boiled țuică (with sugar, pepper and cloves), workers, family and guests will drink it warm wile eating some fresh, salted, pig skin.

ignat

I missed this step this year, but right after is the time for a small party, the pig’s requiem, with freshly cooked pork, pickles, polenta and more boiled țuică. More work will start after that, the meat has to be prepared to last for the winter: stuff the sausages, boil the bacon, dry, smoke and so on.

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Romanian elections

Yesterday it was the elections day in Romania, the final results are still counted but all the pools show a decisive victory of the communist coalition, just as everyone expected. The country is bracing for at least 4 years of an authoritarian regime, rampant corruption and dissolution of the order of the law.
The elections were organized by the same communist regime, the one which, back in the summer, tried a coup d’etat (which partly failed, thanks to the European Union strong intervention) and frauded a referendum, of course they used the same tactics. For example, I travelled in the village of Jupănești in the Argeș county. Here, totally against the law, in the elections day, a huge banner of the communist coalition was placed in front of the voting station entrance. Needless to say, it was the only advertising I saw in the entire village and also needless to say, the village policeman was around, keeping an eye on everything.

elections

Actually, after we left the highway (two days before elections, when advertising was still allowed), passing trough villages, I saw only signs for the communist coalition (USL) and an extremist-populist party (PP-DD). The rural Romania in Argeș was looking like a country where is no democratic party (as far as I know, this is pretty much the case for a large part in the South and the East of the country).
This is the current-day Romania: a country with no hope.

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Vienna Lights

For a project I was required nine night pictures from a city so my choice was a series of photos made this year in Prater, Vienna. Stay tuned for more info on the project (in a couple of weeks).

vienna lights

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National Day is a Children Day

Probably half of the people assisting the military parade on the National Day are children, eagerly awaiting to see the tanks and the horses. They were not bothered much by being groped by strangers as they were bothered by the wait: to get good places some went there 1-2 hours earlier.

parade

parade

But when the parade started they were happy:

parade

And even more happier after the event, when they were allowed to play with (and on top) of the military vehicles, guns and soldiers (no ammunition was present, of course).

parade

parade

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Groping for the National Day.

What is the most pleasant way to spend the National Day? How about having your genitals groped? Bonus: if you are a guy and the person doing it is a blond female. OR you are a girl and he is a man in uniform.

groping for the national day

Long story short: 1st of December is the Romanian National Day and traditionally there is a big military parade in Bucharest at Arcul de Triumf, which is admired by a lot of people (I heard around 15.000 were this year). Less traditional, this year the security was a lot tighter.

groping for the national day

In all the access routes, there were control filters: some gendarmes in uniforms were controlling everyone: men, women, children, old people by groping the bodies and looking inside the bags (TSA-style pnly low-tech).

groping for the national day

The gendarmes were both male and female and the intention probably was for same-gender groping only, but with such an amount of people it was chaos: everybody groping anyone. I saw an old woman protesting, who escaped only with a purse-check and an young man unhappy he was groped by a guy gendarme, not by the blond women gendarme.

groping for the national day

After this filters, there were some guys in suits watching, probably the SPP amd some more… After passing the check I stopped, turned around to shoot the groping, but somehow my view was blocked all the time. Breathing, I understood: there was a “normally” dressed guy, most likely a SPP undercover who was moving in such way to be in my view all the time while maintaining a casual appearance. Time to change my lens, put a wide one, extend my arm and shoot from above his head. He tried to extend his arms too, realized is ridiculous, exchanged a few words with a suited guy then dropped his arms. I continued shooting while asking him “is there any problem?” and when done left with “see, there is a solution for every problem”.

groping for the national day

On the positive side, when waiting in queue for the filter, I was asked if I have a press pass (had my biggest lens mounted) – don’t know if that would have me skip the filter or just go in front. Another fellow photographer was asked to take a shoot to prove the camera is working – not sure if because she had a red Nikon DLSR which the gendarmes had doubts is a real camera or because it was early in the morning, before the gendarmes got bored.

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De Kuyper Cup

Funny looking young bartenders

de kuyper

And cocktails

de kuyper

And a master juggling with bottles, shakers and glasses

de kuyper

And even fancier cocktails

de kuyper

Prepared by better dressed bartenders

de kuyper

And a jury noting their evolution

de kuyper

And more bartenders juggling with bottles, shakers and glasses

de kuyper

And the jury watching their every move

de kuyper

It was De Kuyper Cup Romania, the yearly bartending competition, of course.

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The Gallery from the Gallery

The Gallery from the Gallery (Romanian: Galeria din Galerie) is the name of a photo exhibition a fellow photographer from the community just opened. It is about the Bucharest subway and the pictures are exposed in the Unirii 1 station.

subway

The rest of us used the opportunity, since taking photos in the subway is usually not allowed, to shoot there (you need an approval from the management, otherwise the security will ask you to stop).

subway

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Herd / Rural / Winner

This picture, showing a herd of sheep from a Romanian village, won the fifth place in a contest organized by a national rural development agency/network.

herd

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Self modelling

If the photographers are busy chasing some falling leaves, what are those girls supposed to to? They take pictures one to each other. Stupid photographers!

self modelling

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Cotton candy

The cotton candy is a sweet delight, the warm autumn light and colors are sweet, sharing the moments is also sweet.

cotton candy

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