Arrivals and Departures: An Introduction

Huge distances in a slow pace

On this journey I will visit three cities, where I have never been before:  Moscow, Ulan Batar, and Beijing. The train will bring me from the Russian forests to the Mongolian desert and finally through the mountains to Beijing. The train will be the red thread connecting these capitals. From the window I will follow the change of landscape and the change of mood.

It’s a trip I have always wanted to take; The legendary journey along the Trans Siberian Railway. So much history has taken place along these tracks, so many eyes have seen what I am about to see. I want to find out if traveling with the train will give me another perspective. In Denmark you can cross the country in five hours by train, but in Russia the distances are huge. I wonder if the connection between people and places will feel different considering the fact that I will pass every tree, every house and every village on my way to Beijing?

Everything is new

To me Russia, Mongolia and China are all unknown lands, and so is my equipment on this journey: The brand new Leica M Monochrome and a 50 mm apo-summicron-lens. On top of this, it is also my first time using a digital camera, and my first time using a Leica-camera at all. Everything is new, but then again, my ambition is always the same. I will use the camera as a tool to create contact, closeness and intimacy. I want to meet people, to connect with the cities, to make the places mine, even if it’s just for a short while.

Black and White

Working with black and white photography 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, but they create their own universe. I like to think they are about something else and more than just what they show. At least that is my ambition; to focus on our emotions and a state of mind that is not defined by how we look or where we come from, but on the things that connect us and make us dependent on each other.

image from I, Tokyo
illustrations by Sun Hee Engelstoft

-Jacob Aue Sobol

To learn more about Jacob and view his work, visit his website at www.auesobol.dk.