This is an unpublished project premiered today on C41 Magazine.
Ben Amando is a self-taught portrait and documentary photographer working with analogue processes. He’s an avid traveler and observer who uses photography as his vehicle to create narratives that question the structures of the society. His projects are usually based on the relationship between humans and the environments they inhabit. He’s currently based in his home town of Canberra, Australia, but he’s currently working on new projects in Veneto, Italy.
About ‘Luncă, luncă’ – words by Ben Amando:
Luncă, luncă was an exploration to understand the known unknown. My perception of which has been characterised by mystical tales, headlines of international media, and Chinese whispers. Searching for the most obvious of cliché’s sent me in more directions than the hand of a compass can spin. With my abstruse questions following me, I was on the hunt for vampires, witches and werewolves. Fortunately, the chase of these trivial mysteries led me into something that I didn’t expect. I had been introduced to an observational stand off with something that bled honesty, pain, and idealism, but had no relation to what I was looking for. I was introduced to the real East, the one that doesn’t feature blood, rituals, or potions. An East that lived in a juxtaposed society balancing communist traditions with a modern, cultural confusion. One that lives deep within the urbanised concrete jungle’s of Budpapest(HUN) and Cluj Napoca(ROM), spreading all the way to natures paradise at Breb(ROM) and Săpânța(ROM), and onwards to the boarder towns of Солотвино(UKR) and Sighetu Marmației(ROM).
Luncă, luncă represents these observations closely and from a distance, embracing my role as a stranger in their society and portraying my fugitive encounters through the lens. Bringing to life the smaller things that make the big things work. Understanding the eyes which look at the colours of the sky in the cities, dramatically change focus to the ones in the villages. The intriguing openness of the streets that pull you into each new passing corner, unexpectedly breaking any expectation you thought you might’ve had. The isolation, the control, the prayers, the light. The East is a mystery but it’s definitely not a fairytale.