The man in the photo studio told me that my film is long expired and there’s no point in scanning it.
But well, I like photographing on expired film. Mainly because you never know what you’ll get. When you finally see the photographs it’s nothing what you expected, nothing that you could remember – almost like the moment you captured on the photo has never happened. It feels like looking at your memories from a different perspective, something that is new but old at the same time.
A little bit like remembering something that you forgot a long time ago. That’s what I mainly like about the expired film.
(…) Recognition of the impermanence and transience of life is a central tenet of Buddhism, and indeed of most Eastern philosophies. Buddhism holds that life is marked by three key qualities. The first two are impermanence and insubstantiality, referred to in Japanese respectively as mujō (無常) and muga (無我) However, unfortunately, most of us live in denial or ignorance of mujō and muga, clinging resolutely to phenomena that are intrinsically subject to change. This kind of clinging is then the cause of the third “mark” of existence, namely ku (苦), which translates as dissatisfaction or suffering. However, the promise of Buddhism is that liberation can be found through a deep understanding and acceptance of mujō and muga.
This is where mono no aware comes in. With this mood, acceptance of impermanence and insubstantiality is elevated into an aesthetic sensibility, a state of mind that actually appreciates this ephemerality. This does not mean impermanence is welcomed or celebrated. There is still sadness present in mono no aware, a sorrow at this transiency, of the loss of people and things that are precious to us. However, this melancholy is suffused with a quiet rejoicing in the fact that we had the chance to witness the beauty of life at all, however fleetingly. (…)
(…) It’s always been hard, but never as hard as it is now. You see that block over there? Flats cost around a thousand dollars per square meter. It’s for rich oligarchs from the East. Normal people don’t have anything now. Sometimes there’s no water for one day, two days, three? How can you live like that? Without a shower, without tea? You see this factory there, on your left? It used to be the biggest bus factory in Ukraine. Everybody worked in that factory but now it’s closed. No, you can’t go inside, it’s locked. People are on the streets. Nobody cares in Ukraine.
(…) Rubbish is a big problem now. Take a photo of that, let people see it. I can hear the rats at night, there’s so many of them. You can’t even see the rubbish bins, they’re completely covered up. In a few weeks the temperature will get higher and the whole district will stink. It worries me, these kids playing in all that dirt.
(…) and can I ask you what do people in Poland think about the Russians? Me? I think it’s all a big money game. It’s difficult now, people hardly earn enough to live. In the past kids would come to the shop with money. Now they don’t have anything. It’s all the fault of corruption. What do I think about the East of Ukraine? It was all empty territories before the Russians settled there, it’s Russian anyway. People don’t really care about it here, they just want the war to end. But war means money, so it won’t end soon.
I miss Poland sometimes, all my family is there. But my visa expired and I can’t get a new one for the moment. Maybe when it all calms down a bit. Will there be another war? I don’t know. There’s a lot of weapons, legal, mostly illegal, people buy it on the black market and hide it. Where? I don’t know that. But I don’t see how it would change anything for better, another war.
(…) this, here, it’s a rough district. You don’t want to be here at night. People are scared to go out. But they have no money so what choice do they have? You see this school here? It’s a very poor school, difficult. I had some friends here once. It was hard for them, but what can you do?
(…) Did you bring some vodka? No? You should have, Polish products are in vogue here. My business? I’m selling plant seeds. It’s no good now, because it’s still cold and nothing grows. But people will come in the spring time, in the spring time it’s good. When it gets a little warmer. I’ve been to Poland once, to Rzeszow. It’s a beautiful city. The most beautiful. My grandparents were Polish, but my parents had to move here and so I was born in Lviv. My whole life in Lviv. (…)
(…) my son, he’s in America. I love America, it’s the best country. It’s my heart’s country. We won a Green Card by accident. I got a letter: “congratulations, you won a Green Card”, I thought they were joking! But it was for real! So we didn’t wait, not even a month, we went to the embassy right away and in a few weeks we were on a plane to New York, can you believe that? Why New York? I don’t know. Florida, LA, New York, Washington, I didn’t know what would be good and what wouldn’t, so we just picked New York. (…)
(…) you know, in America, I worked in the middle of nowhere and the last bus was at ten and then nothing until morning. And one day they asked me, can you stay longer? So what can I say, I stay longer, and the last bus is gone, so I stand on the street in the middle of the night and wait for one hour, two? And than police car comes and they ask, why am I standing there? What am I doing? So I tell them, I need to wait for a bus. And could you believe it, they take me in the police car and drive me to near my house. I was driven back in a police car, can you imagine?
It would never happen here. Here they would plant some marijuana in your pocket. They do that to people. Then they ask for money. And we don’t have money, where from? If they robbed everything we had? One day I’ll go back to my son, to America. Or maybe to Poland. I don’t know yet, but I can’t stay here too long.
We went to the biggest horse market in Poland without really knowing what to expect. When we arrived it was wet, cold and dark. We spent the night in a car, drifting off and waking up in a cramped, sweaty embrace, somehow very appropriate for the whole situation. Strange smells of animals, weird excitement in the air and the crowds of people in the middle of the cold night, it all built up something new, a strange, powerful energy.
To me the horse market meant a powerful energy, waking up my tired brain and giving no choice, but to participate, a crazy dance of men, horses and alcohol,
what’s better there in the world, than beautiful horses and beautiful women
and vodka, I guess,
and here’s what I saw, but maybe more, what I participated in, feeling like I’m placed in a very middle of a big chaos, something long awaited and wild.