lassal – foreshadow

Lassal - single


Foreshadow by Lassal

I remember I was totally curious about Romania before getting there … The workshop with Antonin Kratochvil was called “The Lost Villages of Transylvania” and during the first days of orientation and introduction by our guides we could see what that meant: a disappearing world. People between anguish and hope – with changes that come too fast for most of them to grasp. There was a foreshadowing in the faces that I met, that reminded me of faces I saw in Berlin after the opening of the wall – I was there when the wall came down in Berlin, and the faces I met ate me up from the inside. Especially the ones from the older generation – whilst the younger ones were partying the elderly had already collected life experience enough to know that this was not going to happen without a greater sacrifice …

In Transylvania I saw this expression again, but differently than in Germany I saw it on younger faces too. I wanted to capture that, I decided. But where could I do that without being noticed? In a train, I told myself … passing all the shut down industries, all the signs that sang the happy-Europe-song … In a train, where I could press the shutter of my old and worn down point & shoot without anybody taking note … or so I thought.


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55 Responses to “lassal – foreshadow”

  • Hello Lassal!

    It is my pride to be the first one to respond to your photograph. I have always been curious about Romania as well so perhaps through your sensitive observations of its people i will satisfy my own curiosity. This man looks like scarred prize fighter old before his time. Hard-bitten yes, but still a childlike hope and wonder on his face as he peers out at the landscape. What does he expect or hope to see? A way out? A way in? A choice? An option? A possibility? An opportunity? A beautiful girl? Lost family members? a revisited youth? Or perhaps just a patch of sunlight on a distant hillside or a river or lake previously unknown to him. Haven’t we all ridden a train/plane/bus/taxi with that same expectant hopeful sense that anything might happen to take us away from all of “this”? Perhaps it is simply universal, part of the human condition.

    Wonderful photo, Lassal..i hope to see more, an essay at least!


  • I like it Lassal; you got “the looK”. Like the colour, composition and there is just enough detail to convey your message. Congratulations.

    Your intro hints at a story: obviously someone “took note”, care to tell?

    Good light,


  • I really like it.
    The inky red line and the grey mottled glass frame the highlighted profile perfectly.
    You achieved what you set out to do in a very skilled way.
    It’s very satisfying, thank you.

  • and just to add (because i keep coming back to it :) the feeling of brooding apprehension mixed with hope is sublime.

  • Ein Nichts
    waren wir, sind wir, werden
    wir bleiben, blühend:
    die Nichts-, die
    -Paul Celan
    (from Psalm)

    I have always loved this series, A LOT, Lassal…not just because it is dark but because it buoys hope….not so much as looking into the abyss, but the opposite, the flowering….the looking upward, the recongition, like Icarus, that while the dark drunk sea lay below, it is indeed the firmament and stars that guide us, the long spread of the horizon…the mark toward which we still, regardless of all, hope….

    everything in this pic tell me it is an essay itself: the blotch of red curtain, a smudge of heart-stain, the dark snow-bitten window of dust and mesh, the expression, above all, rodin’s thinker, Giacometti’s men in the rain, and the cow-licked wind bite of Tarr….that sublime bridge of light upon his heroic nose, achilles regretting his rage…i kept clicking expecting an essay, because it itself is already a film, a dreamscape…a sublime truth…

    i have never believed in the truth of photographs, that photograhs reveal, or rather that a single photograph reveals, but rather describes, tilts toward a wider perspective…not the truth of a single man, but something more spreading…the condition of our lives…a part of our life, a junction….

    and that my dear, is here, in this solitary image, this solitary man, whose restless thoughts and dreams (of time, of history, of his family, of all that he has lost and yet shall gain) is there…



  • Hello Lassal, I really like the photo. Technically, I think you handled a difficult lighting situation very well. Conceptually, I think it’s fantastic work. A combination of sensitive perception and excellent storytelling. I find the composition fascinating. I like how the straight lines in the top and top right of the photo work with the curves of the man’s face and the drape on the left. And the red in conjunction with all that certainly adds some interesting drama. You’ve actually got a kind of swastika thing going there with the lines and together with the red, black and white color scheme I can see the hint of a Nazi flag. Let’s hope that’s got nothing to do with the foreshadowing you so perceptively have managed to capture.

  • Hi Lassal,
    what a great picture!
    I was in Bukarest two times last year and cannot fully follow that dark picture, however – I am sure it is there. The future is not only bright and you captured that in the face of the man. A very emotional picture.
    I really love it.

    …and I am curious to see more ..

  • I can hear his voice.

  • Nice shot…movie like…
    reminds me of “Rambo” somehow..:)

  • Very big picture Lassal, congratulations ! Hope to see more too :)))

  • Lassal, you have the eye of the artist and the words of the storteller. Brava, my dear!


  • Darn.

    I looked at the picture, then clicked into it, eager to see more from the series and to go traveling with strangers on the edge through a place on the edge that I had never been – only to find that it was not an essay, but a single shot.

    A most excellent and evocative single shot, as Kathleen Fonseca so aptly described.

    I am certain it will appear in my head repeatedly in the future and I will wonder about it.

    I also want to know what happened when people took note.

  • Bill, I did the same..

  • A cuddly monster. i like it.


    Great to see your work here again… the face of this man is so expressive and you have captured it well… The person reminds me somewhat of a spanish actor Javier Bardem… I also liked how you have captured the story and like some others have expressed already I only would wish to see the full essay… I actually remember you showing me another photograph some time ago, taken also during that workshop with Antonin and that I really liked, a picture of the train that you shot through a broken glass window… Amazing photograph in my view…

    Congrats again!


  • Nice one Lassal. just enough eye.

  • Eric

    ¨The person reminds me somewhat of a spanish actor Javier Bardem¨

    That´s it!!! I kept wondering why he seemed so familiar to me! A-ha!


  • red for luck,fortune and happiness………. black for dignity.

  • Lassal,

    this one brought me back to burn. Reminds me of Quasimodo for some strange reason- maybe it’s the gothic connections my mind makes with Transylvania. A human monster watching the world go by.

    Beautiful work.

  • sounds intriguing!!!
    a well written piece of prose along-side a moody, ‘draw you in’ image.
    looking forward to seeing more!

  • Lassal,

    I am disappointed. Not with this shot but because there is only one!
    I like it so much I was hoping it was an essay.
    Hope we get to see more one day soon. Good job!

  • If anyone has Lassal’s email can they please forward it to me? Thanks.

  • Greetings from Bucharest!

    I, too, clicked on the image thinking there would be more. Classic stuff from the land of OZ Lassal!

    Best regards,


  • Pete Marovich
    March 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    If anyone has Lassal’s email can they please forward it to me? Thanks.

    if u r so fuckin’lazy to look for it yourself then u obviously dont deserve it…

  • Goodness Panos.

    Lassal. LOVE THIS PHOTO! It speaks volumes. Love the shadow, the red, the half face, and his nose. Great shot. I Want More.

  • Dear Lassal,

    I have a few favorite photographers here on Burn and You are on top of this list!
    Love your works.
    Pink Lobo is one of the best series of photos I’ve seen last time. So nice tickled my mind. Love it!

  • hi lassal

    come on – spill the beans – what happened when you were noticed?

    i like the photo – the odd center kilter makes the moment seem more quickly snatched and makes me wonder if you were using a viewfinder or not?
    (nb – i very often do not.. so no dis.)

    is there a link to more work from the trip?

  • scarred as my face
    i’m picking up the pieces
    of what i have lost:
    my heart

    (thank you lassal. you brought me back to burn)

  • Lassal,
    this is a great picture! Simply wonderful!
    Love these diagonal lines and spaces. And this face! It feels as if you have taken this shot with ease and yet it has all this weight. The weight of an uncertain future.
    Mr Kratochvil had a good influence!
    Hope we have time to talk in the coming days. I wanted to give you a ring anyways.
    Big hugs!

  • Hi all …

    wow, what a surprise! I got Anton’s email last night, telling me that an image of mine was up, but I was on the road (working). It has been quite a while that I have submitted this picture – right after DAH complained that he was not getting any singles for BURN – and I have kind of forgotten about it.

    I am running out to work right now, but I will hopefully be back earlier today and will go through the comments then. I apologize I have been away from BURN (the blog) since the BURNbirthday party. I hope nobody felt let down because of it. It is still on my list to send some emails out, but I am just recovering from some stupid sickness that made me miss the first part of this year. Sorry again.

    Talk to you tonight! Have a wonderful day,

  • … and thanks for taking your time to comment.

  • Yes Lassal!

    Great shot.

    Strong AND Sensitive.
    Lovely use of colour and framing.

    He looks like a some kind of Gothic time traveller…

    and like others have stated, it begs for MORE.

  • Goodness Panos.
    Lee..:)) what? i just sent Pete Lassal’s info…
    trying to keep the community together
    big hug

  • hope
    BRAVO LAssal!!!!
    What a wonderful photograph….
    so simple

  • Masterful pic Lassal, . And that face, the slack beak-like hook of a mouth, broken nose, brow ridge, enough detail in the eye to see the somewhat dazed look, it is really almost caricature.

    The composition is fantastic, though I’m not sure about the tilt. The slash of red, just the perfect amount of shadow detail and highlight detail in the curtain behind, you clearly know what you are up to. I’d love to see more!

    More singles David and Anton!

  • Great picture. It touches you on some deep “animal” level.

  • a cross between scarface and herman munster.
    delicious light, texture, and atmosphere.
    you nailed it, gorden – dazed.
    very entrancing, lassal.
    need more now.

  • KATHY,
    I am the one who is honored by your comment. Thanks so much! I received your email too, will answer right after this. Do not worry about submitting, ok? All is fine.

    MIKE R,
    thanks, man! :) Yes I usually like it minimal: not more than really necessary. Although sometimes I tend to argue with people about what precisely is necessary for a subject. I usually go for less. My subject is more often than not an abstact one, a thesis, an idea. These workshops are quite thrilling for me, because I have to go about things so differently than I would normally do, with much more preparation. Even if I understand Romanian quite well, I could not but speak the tiny bit that I learned before leaving. If I had known the place, I would have gone about it totally differently. I should have gotten myself a guide on the first day.

    THANKS! Yes, the red works well in there … :) Black, white and red … has a lot of connotation.
    And the rest (almost) is that man’s face.

    Bob, the man of all languages …
    you are one amazing person!
    You keep surprising me.

    Yes, I like the dark. But just as you write, I like to see through it like through a veil. I think it is because I grew up in Brazil, in Rio, in this very old part of town where they were constantly filming those old fashioned colonial style telenovelas … it had this ancient aura… Old and new walls turning black because of the salty, moist air- regardless of how often you painted them. Thick vegetation of all kind of generations, from fresh translucend greens up to dense, heavy, dark & overgrown, long dead woods. Young birds chirping in the trees, happy, and then drowning in light blue swimmingpools, because they did not make it back to the nest. Delicious papaya and bananas growing on wild patches of wasteland, and the intense sickening smell of the decompositing bread fruits in the woods … Everything seemed always to be so much fuller, so much more to the extremes there. The dark was darker and the light lighter than I ever found it again. Tragedy and happyness so close to each other. The dark was beautiful … tragic, menacing, deadly … but beautiful nonetheless… with a heavy smell of ripe flowers. Yes, I guess I still see through these eyes. At least sometimes :)

    Swastika? Scary thought. Propaganda colors … But also colors of Snow White … Bob and I were talking about fairy tales last week … About how we find them mirrored in real life sometimes.

    Thanks for your comment(s) :)
    Bukarest is probably very different – I have not been in Bukarest, but in Siebenbürgen. To be precise, in Sighisoara, Mr. Dracula’s hometown. Living right under the shadow of his imposing castle… I bet Bukarest has more of a night life. :)


    Yessssss! Totally movielike! That is one of the things that drew me in. I would be writing a script around that man’s face if I could …

    sight … thanks. I did have a huge post, which I wrote in Sighisoara at nights to “feed” some friends&family at home. It was really all in there … but it got lost due to a software update gone wrong or so. Really too bad.
    But you have to picture our little group around Antonin, sitting in utter darkness on some wooden chairs of a daytime cafe on the main piazza of Sighisoara – under an ancient oak tree. With the moon illuminating Count Dracula’s castle and our monitors illuminating our faces. That café was the only place with WLAN … :)

    thanks soooo much. I wish I were a better storyteller. I love stories!!! Good stories are such a strong means of communication, of getting a message across … I wish we would spend more time learning this at school …

    you made me smile. Thanks. Well … I did put a few more pictures up in a second blog post that was to replace the one that got missing. But just three or four pictures … I have cut it short because I was too upset to write all of it again – even though I found my notes later and could retrace it now.

    We have to skype again soon. I am curious about how things are proceeding …

    good to see you here too. Sorry for not getting back to you the other day. It is just crazily busy here right now. I have so much to catch up with, it is scary.
    You are right about JB … :) and … if I am not mistaken, the train picture you are referring to is in the blog post that I linked to above. That was in Copşa Mică. Do you know Antonin Kratochvil’s book “Broken Dream”? Amazing pictures from that place, taken in 1991. All black due to pollution. Today you have to go to the little closed by cemetery to see the blackened grave stones, or the dark skeleton of parts of the industrial complex … The rest has been cleaned superficially, has been washed into the grounds where people grow their potatoes.

    JOHN G
    ;) Yes, that was important.


    Thanks for your words. That man indeed seems to have the scars of history in his skin, does he not? But he was quite dignified as a person. Not a monster at all… as if he had the wisdom of history in his heart, too. OK. We are putting too much into this now :)
    I observed him. He was there with 3 other men. All were listening to what he had to say, which he was doing in a very calm but intense way. Quite intriguing. Maybe he WAS an actor?

    Good to have you back on BURN :)

    Thanks :)

    thanks for your email … :)

    Thanks … so sorry to disappoint you, though. Yes, maybe one day. I know of one workshopstudent who got back there to finish her essay … Hmm.

    thanks! :)

    Thanks – you are the expert, though :) How are things working out in Bucharest now? … Looking forward to see more of your work.

    :):) Soooo good to have you!! Thanks for your Skype info, too … “Lassalita”? I had an Argentinian boyfriend once … Memories … :):)

    geee … thanks! :)
    How are things on your side of the world?! We definitively need to email. I have you on my list … just give me some more time please, I am still drowning! :)

    oh, wow … thanks. This really means a lot to me coming from you. You have clicked through PINK LOBO?! :):) Cool! I was wondering how hard it would be to grasp. The people who now own that place got the idea right away but I was wondering about people who have never been to Lobo. Did you know that DAH almost made it there with us? We were “planning” (loosely) to meet at that place, but I guess it was just a little too off the way. Although I can recomment Marfa to anyone who gets close.

    I am still looking for someone to write the text. The person I thought would be perfect is a great thinker but a very insecure writer. Too bad.

    hehehe … I could spend hours talking about what happened when they noticed me taking pictures. The short version is in that blog post:

    The text I submitted is an excerpt of the blog text. I felt so bad for DAH, after he complained that he was not getting any submissions for singles, that I hurried up to sent him some right away. Thus I copy & pasted the text. I still cannot write English texts in any hour of the day. It does not work when I get into “translation mode”, which makes me sound like chipping wood.
    And as I mentioned above: you are right about the viewfinder, which I did not use for most parts of my train rides.

    I was gone too … wondering how to get back. The picture brought both of us back in. David did.
    Good to be back WITH YOU! :)

    Danke Dir! :)
    Antonin in fact had a good influence on me. As soon as I got back I replaced my old camera with a G10. Antonin had taken an old and beaten G10 to Transylvania and I loved the metal body and the mere fact that something could look so messed up and still work nicely :) He let me use and test it and it is my handbag choice for the day to day since then.
    I have been looking at your book often. Thanks again for that wonderful present, which I did not deserve! Yes, let’s talk soon … Maybe we can meet up again? I heard Thomas has a new car … :) Let’s arrange something soon.

  • SAM
    thaaanks! :):) Yesss Gothik :)
    (are you through the paperwork? Is it time to congratulate already??)

    thanks for passing it on :)

    the eternal poet. One does not need images when one has your words.

    thanks really. I do know you do not say these things easily. So I am happy. The tilt … I often use it to eliminate things I do not want to have in my frame and still getting the rest of it rather close. I am not in favor of a tilt as a means in itself, but I find it quite a good tool sometimes.
    Thanks again.

    good to see you here!
    Hope all is fine? I always see your picture and your red dot on the map in my mind, when I read your name. :)

    reading all the comments, I wonder if that man had to endure hell during childhood. I wonder how he looked like when he was 8, 14, when he was at school … when he fell in love for the first time. When his first date took him home to meet the parents … He was not wearing a ring.
    hmmm ….

    How are your “kids” doing? It was a hard winter … hope all is well.

    I am through?!

    Yes, that man in the train was special. I did see a lot of different people on that first day alone in the train, and a lot of different expressions, but this man was somehow a concentration of it all, like the condensed shadow of the spirit that I was after. Next to him, the other images blurred and became insignificant … I would have needed not 3-4 days in the train, but much longer, to find more faces like his. Especially because most of the trains I went with were rather empty.

    Can you picture how I went stiff when I noticed him sitting there with his friends and let myself fall into a seat diagonally opposite? I NEEDED that face! :) And it was quite a battle to get it. I will spare you this, but it was along the lines that I decided that I definitively needed a inconspicuous point&shoot that I could turn into manual mode.

    Thanks all of you for your time and comments. I am aware of the fact of how difficult that can be. I will hopefully have time on the weekend to do a little commenting myself. I have not been on BURN for a while and need to catch up on it.

  • Lassal

    You are respected and are beloved..welcome back..and Gracie, you too…welcome the heck back to Burn, both of you..and oh, how could i forget mnm..haven´t seen those initials round here in quite awhile! Welcome all!

    Life is good under Lassal´s single!


  • Lassal, thanks for that link, I did have a look on your site, but didn’t find it yesterday..

    thanks for the welcome-back hug :)

    my website needs some serious working on it. :)
    Sorry for making you chase the rabbit.

  • Lassal, no problem, love chasing rabbits through photosites.. only problem is that more often than not I end up with chasing and catching books.. happened again yesterday, following Erica’s posting on lightstalkers:

  • EVA
    yeah … I was wondering about Erica’s question too, but the names I would have suggested have already come up.
    As to books … jep. I need new shelves AGAIN! :)

  • Lassal, I am still out in the middle of the pacific. April 17 I leave for an extended trip to the mainland to shoot and hang. No matter where we all are we are still here together. Love it.

  • heard Thomas has a new car … :) Let’s arrange something soon.

    yes :) .. I’ll be next week Monday – Wednesday in Athens .. (hopefully meeting Panos)
    Easter, I’ll be in France seeing my sister, and have vacation until April 21st.
    There should be an opportunity to meet. :)

  • Hi Lassal.

    You know what this reminded me of. You know when you see a caged animal, in a circus, thats been there for too long and you , as a human being, can recognize that sense of lost hope in its eyes.

  • I would just like to know what was going on inside that man’s head. What he was thinking about.
    There’s a powerful yearning in this image. A most poignant photograph.

  • Without the red cloth, I do not think the picture or expression would have the impact you wanted it to impart (IMO), and for that reason, you render the almost inexpressible thru the unique means of photography, which has to elicit a big Bravo! from us all. i also like very much the minimalism of means used.

    (I must say at first sight, I thought it was Panos during one of his off moments…. No kidding!)

  • Lassal, da bin ich mal eine Weile nicht auf BURN…
    Herzliche Glückwünsche – zu dieser wundervollen Photographie und zur Veröffentlichung derselbigen!!!
    Excellent stuff! Hug, D.

  • I found this image to be haunting. The red curtain, the look on the face of the subject put together with the story, makes this a compelling photograph to me.

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