Observed portraits



The Gutin Mountain rises as a column above the southen border pass of Maramureș. You have to come round it if you want to visit in turn the wooden churches of Dănești, Plopiș, Budești, Ocna Șugatag, Desești, included in the list of the heritage of the world. We have come around it three times last summer, and on the way to Ocna Șugatag we only always looked down in the valley upon Breb, its old Hungarian name Hódpatakfalva – Beavers’ Creek –, which also has an impressive 16th-century wooden church and a decaying Jewish cemetery, and about which Claude Karnoouh wrote his beautiful anthropological survey Vivre et survivre en Roumaine comuniste: rites et discours versifiés chez les paysans du Maramureș.

Southwestern part of the former county of Maramureș, the region of the wooden churches.
Click for a full map. Today the Tisza river, above Már(amaros)-Sziget is the border
between the Ukraine and Romania. The red dots mark the places  about which
we have already written, but we will also write about much more.

Someone else, however, not only looked down, but also went down, and spent a summer there; the Azerbaijani Rena Effendi, about whose beautiful and heartbreaking photo album The Line of Life we have already written. In that album she published her photos about the brave new world under development in the Caucasus along the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. In this series, however, she wanted to show an archaic – albeit slowly eroding – world. Her photos have now won the third prize in the Observed Portraits, Series category of World Press Photo 2014.


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