The second hour of our journey at this train. Ahead are another 16 or 17 hours, I dоn’t remember. Behind us someone has already opened a bottle of Chinese stinky vodka, from which it becomes bad even from the smell, someone is going to pour boiling water to make some noodles. Someone plays a movie that it sounds on the whole car, and someone eats seeds so loudly, that it is simply impossible to hear your own thoughts. In addition, around you can hear a million of dialogs, and you can hear them, because everyone is screaming. At such times, you feel happy that you don’t know Chinese language, because you could go crazy.
We do not have a bed here, so we had to take sitting places. Yes, it’s uncomfortable for us, it’s completely inconvenient to sleep, because the back of the chair is not tilted back, but on you. Legs have to be put on your suitcase, that the knees in this position support the chin. Hot. Very hot. There are twice as many people in the car as it is supposed to be. But this is nothing, many people in this and the nearest wagons do not even have such luxury, they go without seats. The most interesting thing is that the price of a ticket with a seat and without it is the same. Why does the government, knowing that because of such a large amount of people, they are still willing to take a ticket without a seat and go 10, 20, 30 hours sitting in the car vestibule or standing, leaning their head on the window and trying to sleep, do not reduce the cost of this kind of ticket? This fact remains unknown.
I take my action camera and go for a walk on the train. Going through a huge number of people, I try to take pictures. Here is the woman sitting right in the aisle, putting her head on her knees, that people have to step over her. And here is the child who was put under the seat, so that he could fall asleep. In the car vestibule there are about 15 people – somebody is standing, somebody is sitting on the suitcase, and some of them climbed onto the sink near the toilet and is sleeping on it. Everyone smokes, smokes a lot. I’m taking pictures. Only just when I got into the train, I already knew that it would be a new series of photos, a series about these people.
Who are they all and where are they going at such a price? Why don’t they wait for the opportunity to purchase a ticket with a seat and go with comfort? Only God knows. Here such they are – “passengers”.
Sergey Melnitchenko was born in 1991 in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. Member of UPHA – Ukrainian Photographic Alternative.
Founder and curator of MYPH collective, photography school & gallery. Started photography in 2009 and for 10 years participated in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions around the world. Winner of Ukrainian and International competitions, including the “Photographer of the year” 2012, 2013 and 2016 (Kiev, Ukraine), “Golden Camera 2012” (Kyiv, Ukraine), one of 10 finalists of the Showoff section within the month of photography in Krakow 2013, shortlist of “Pinchuk Art Center Prize 2015.
Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award 2017”.
Participant of “Paris Photo 2017” and “VOLTA” art fait in frames of Art Basel 2018 and 2019, etc.