In 2004 I photographed in Romania. At the time I was still shooting on film. I had all films cut from roll film and placed in unmarked cassettes. After exposing a film I took the cassette out of the camera and labeled it with a thick felt tip pen, placed it inside a box, sealed it up and put it to the other side of my camera bag. A sure system of avoiding double exposing films that were already exposed once.
It all took place in Easter and I already took beautiful images and was very content with the whole trip. Near the end of my trip I arrived in the town Putna. There, at the corner of one house stood an old man. When he saw that I was taking pictures with a couple of friends, he started scanning us, he hung an old reflex camera around his neck and said he was also a photographer. I wanted to get closer to him and photograph him and so I reached into my bag and took out a few boxes of film and gave them to him. Mr. Photographer, his face lit up, he was on cloud seven. Later he even invited us to his home. Several images arose from this encounter and it was a very nice day. But that’s not the end of the story.
Later, at home, I developed all the films and three of the exposed films were completely and utterly white, that is unexposed. I was overcome with horror, I cursed myself for wrongly mixing the chemicals and I began wondering how it was possible, because those films should have contained the best images from the whole journey. Then I realized that the exposed images were left in the town of Putna with one old man. I realized that I reached into the wrong side of the bag and gave him the best I had. To this day I tempt myself to believe that perhaps the man didn’t even photograph much and some of my best images are still resting on a kitchen shelf of one small house in Romania. That one day, when I drive around, I will find them there and develop them, and get my best photographs back. But for the time being, all I have is a portrait of a Romanian photographe