During 2011 I was spending time working on a project in Ukraine every so often and on my visit in July I took the opportunity to hang around the main railway station. I found trains heading to Moscow, a mere half day away and leaving the station to martial music piped through the public address system. There were trains full of holiday makers heading to Odesa and Simferopol. And there was a train to Astana in Kazakhstan, full to bursting with travellers wearing jogging pants and plastic flip-flops, already looking exhausted in the late-afternoon heat and only another four days to go.
I already had in my mind some of the photographs I would take, many in black and white, some inspired by a French photo magazine I had been leafing through recently. But what would be the reaction to an obvious foreigner intruding on the privacy of passengers and the security of the railways with a highly conspicuous camera?
Well, in the two afternoons I spent at the station I saw hardly an eyelid bat. Maybe things would be different at a village station in Central Asia, but in Kyiv the days of arrested photographers seemed to be long gone.
|Kyiv - Odesa Express|
Kyiv main rail passenger station, Ukraine, July 2011.This wreck of a loco heads up the Kyiv – Odesa Express as it pulls out of Kyiv Pasazhyrs’kyi on Saturday afternoon. The windscreen is smashed, the mirrors and windscreen wipers are missing, the bodywork is totally corroded and the driver looks about 17. But not to worry, he’s got two mates in the cab to help him. If all goes well, it will eventually manage the 655km in 11h14m, an average speed of 58km/h.