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[The Guardian] The big picture: a pause during celebrations in 90s Bulgaria
by The Guardian « on: May 18, 2020, 01:01:57 PM »




The big picture: a pause during celebrations in 90s Bulgaria

Births, marriages and fleeting hopes in times of struggle catch the eye of Witold Krassowski

Witold Krassowski took this photograph of a bride and her bridesmaid at a wedding celebration in Bulgaria in 1991. In his new book, Sackcloth and Ashes, there is a companion picture to this one, which shows the same wedding party parading along a street in Fakulteta, the Roma ghetto in the capital, Sofia. In that picture, the bride picks her way through mud and rubbish, leading a raggedy line of revellers that includes a clarinettist and an accordion player. Here the instruments have been hung up on the shack behind, in a pause in the festivities.

Fakulteta is the kind of place Krassowski has been documenting for 30 years. Its 25,000 residents remain cut off from the Bulgarian capital, long denied water and sanitation, and with only off-grid electricity. Many residents are effectively forced to work recycling the industrial waste that is dumped in the area. Krassowski, who first took photographs of his native Poland at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, has subsequently travelled in places as distinct as Tanzania, Peru and Mongolia, but his photographs have a remarkable collective poignancy. He has often been drawn to the universal exclamation marks in human lives – births, marriages and deaths; and, as here, to little moments of reflection and hope in lives characterised by hardship and struggle.

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