Kieran Kesner‘s photographs from ‘Traveling By Train’ are intriguing. They’re less a documentary than a compilation of pictures taken while travelling through Eastern Europe on various other assignments and projects in the Czech Republic and war torn Ukraine.
Last year on this blog I wrote about Kesner’s moving ‘Roma Project’, which delved into the lives of of the Roma communities living in the Czech Republic and highlighted the prejudices and discrimination they have to deal with on a daily basis. This series takes a step back. As if we’re on the way there, have just left. Are inbetween.
The images imply a restlessness. A young American photographer sitting with his bags on a train, going from one place to the next, nothing to do, no one to speak too, only his camera for company. There are strangers sitting next to him, sleeping, resting, there are windows to look out of, stations to arrive into. All of it new. All of it timeless, lost in thought, of what is to come and what has just past, the details; the light, the reflection, the speed of the landscape passing by.
And while Kesner’s documentaries on the Roma camps in the Czech Republic, the civil war in Ukraine as well as his powerful project on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and his more personal projects in America and Israel are more striking, poignant and important, its these pictures I love most. For they say more about the man behind the camera than they do about what we see through his lens.