The big picture: Bertien van Manen’s otherworldly arrivals hall

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There is simply a fairytale value to Bertien van Manen’s 1975 photograph of nan arrivals hallway astatine Budapest Keleti train station. Among nan questions it demands is: who are nan 2 women successful shawls and wherever mightiness they beryllium going? (And past location is nan flimsy double return required to beryllium judge that nan pointing woman’s limb is not someway connected some sides of nan right-hand shawl-wearer’s head.)

The otherworldly ambiance of nan photograph was due to Van Manen’s quest. Her travel to Budapest marked a sliding doors infinitesimal successful her career. Up until then, nan photographer, who died past period aged 89, had a successful profession successful Amsterdam moving for manner magazines. But past she started looking difficult astatine nan pictures successful Robert Frank’s landmark odyssey, The Americans. She felt nan request to beryllium connected nan road, successful funny places. She was 40, her children were increasing up, truthful she took a travel to Budapest, past almost arsenic inaccessible arsenic Narnia.

Her photographs from that travel person hardly been seen before, and are astir to beryllium published successful a caller monograph. They convey nan state Van Manen appeared to consciousness from uncovering clip conscionable to look, without immoderate commercialized imperative. She dwelt connected nan ways that clip appeared to person a different value successful this replacement world. People move without overmuch urgency; you tin almost perceive clocks ticking.

After Budapest, Van Manen ne'er really looked back. She travelled extensively successful nan erstwhile Soviet Union, and Appalachia, embedding herself successful nan life of communities dissimilar her own. She planned to telephone nan bid from Hungary “I Will Be Wolf”, a statement borrowed from nan Budapest-born writer Attila József; nan quote sounds for illustration a remembered connection of intent. Having fto nan world travel to her, for nan first half of her life, nan photographer would now beryllium connected nan prowl, successful hunt of it.

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  • I Will Be Wolf by Bertien van Manen is published by Mack (£25)

Source theguardian