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|Hand to Mouth
photography and commentary by
When she started photographing rural life in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania in 2003, Tessa Bunney was attracted to the many unique cultural differences she discovered there — rough-hewn tools and farm implements that had been used for generations, old-fashioned fabrics and textures, and a cohesive way of living in accord with the seasonal conditions of their harsh environment. However, a mere five years after she started her documentation, many of these age-old cultural practices and artifacts are disappearing.
About the beginning of this project:
Like many projects 'Hand to Mouth' came about by chance. As I was driving
home late one evening in the UK, I heard
a programme on Radio 4, 'Wild Europe', about how the lives of the travelling
shepherds are affected by bears and wolves in the Romanian Carpathian
Mountains. These few minutes were enough to inspire me to visit the shepherds
and their wild landscape.
Much of this project is a kind of ‘street’ photography relying
on chance encounters. I would get up in the morning
with no agenda and walk all day, sometimes from village to village along
dirt roads, other times following cart tracks and footpaths used by local
people through orchards and meadows. I would photograph the people I met
on the way, people who interested me for some reason — peasant farmers
working the fields, women walking along knitting in the street. I was able to meet shepherds and spend time at the sheepfolds
as they milked the sheep and made cheese for the villages. Unintentionally,
the fabrics and details of their clothing became as important in the photographs
as the actual activity.
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