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Jacob Aue Sobol Copenhagen, Denmark

Arrivals and Departures
Project info

It was a trip I had always wanted to take: — the legendary journey along the Trans Siberian Railway.

Denmark, my native country, you can cross in five hours by train, but in Russia the distances are huge.

I was curious if the connection between people and places would feel different considering the fact that I would pass every tree, every house and every village on my way to Beijing.

The first shock came already when I entered the train. It was completely empty. The whole idea of the project had been to meet people on the train and make intimate stories from the train compartments. But riding this ghost-train, I had to change the concept:

The intimate work had to come from my encounters with people in the cities and the train became the red thread connecting Moscow, Ulaanbaartar and Beijing.

On the train I ended up with my camera glued to the window photographing the change of landscape as we were let along the Russian forests, the Mongolian Desert and through the mountains to Beijing.

Every time I start a new project, I start shooting in color, because I am afraid to repeat myself, but later I realize that it is not really something I can make a rational decision about.

If I can't emotionally connect with my images, if I can't feel that pinch in my stomach, they mean nothing to me, and so I always return to b/w and find my voice again.

Working with black and white has always been the most direct way for me to reach more existential questions. In black and white I feel my images are not bound to a specific location or time. They create their own universe.