"Ten Years in Transylvania
Tiz estendo Erdelyben: Traditions of Hungarian Folk Culture"
Photography and text by Stephen Spinder
Translation by Judit Rona
Recent Awards: GOLD
June 2007; 11th Annual Independent Publishers Awards - "Books Off-Broadway" Excellence in Independent Publishing
Now in its second edition - with an excellent Hungarian translation by historian/academician, Judit Rona – this is a passionate journey through the fabled landscape of Transylvania. Through his sensitive images of traditional folk culture, stories and experiences from over a decade of travel, Stephen takes us on a 'visual and personal celebration' of hidden Hungarian villages in Romania.
Over 140 color photographs (+30 black/white reproductions) reveal the still powerful vestiges of an ancient rich culture that has changed little over time, in spite of the increasing eastern tide of westernism. The images focus on traditional music and dance - integral parts of village existence - and the culture that guard it and preserves it. Each one is transformed by the photographer’s anecdotes from over a decade in Transylvania Forewords by ethnographer and reseachers Béla Halmos and Laszlo Felfoldi further enrich the book.
Hardcover, Color, 9" X 12.5" (23cm x 33cm), 156 pp., 170gsm. ISBN # 963214869X
Spinder's major retrospective Transylvania exhibition - “Budapest Spring Festival” at the Varmege Gallery, gained the attention of the Hungarian Ministry of Cultural Heritage with their generous sponsorship of this elegant publication. Stephen is most gratious for their insight and recognition of the value of this photographic work; to preserve this rich culture.
"His specialty is Transylvanian culture and lifestyle. He captures the kind of portraits that hold an entire life story...In his photographs I see children dancing the same dances as their parents, even with their parents. For me, this shows a simplistic lifestyle that even Hungarians may not catch glimpse of, and that something very special - the music, the dress, the dance - is being preserved. At least for now."
- Elekes Botond, Hungarian Ministry of Culture
"...He has been photographing in Central Europe since 1991 - his first contact with the rich Hungarian folk culture in Transylvania. His sensitive images of the music and dance of this thriving traditional folk culture captures the 'life-value' that is placed on these traditions. Through the support of our Ministry Mr. Spinder has been invited to exhibit his portfolio "Ten Years In Transylvania as part of the Budapest Spring Festival, the city's most prestigious international art celebration."
- Hungarian Foreign Ministry
Ten Years in Transylvania: Traditions of Hungarian Folk Culture
Magnificent Hidden Treasure: Colorful Culture, History, People
“The photographer captured unique images revealing the folk culture and lifestyle of the Hungarian people in many regions of Transylvania: Szek, Mezoseg, Kalotaszeg, Mera, Kolozsvar and Gyimes and many smaller villages such as, Korosfo, Magyarvalko, and Valaszut. This book is a *must* have for anyone who loves folk culture, traditional folk arts, and is captivated by the natural beauty of the Carpathian Mountains. The photos reveal so much about a way of life that is slowly giving away to modernization. Complex patterns and multi-colored embroidery on folk costumes of young women and girls and men's and boy's vests are just one example of the hidden treasures contained in this wonderful book. The photographer captured the faces of people of many ages engaging in the activities of life. He caught splendid images of a lifestyle and culture that is worth preserving and remembering. The natural beauty of the Carpathian Mountains with its dense forest hides villages and peasant homes that have intricately carved wooden trim decorating the eaves and elaborately decorated carved wooden gates. Revealed are onion domed churches and small chapels built of wood with carved entrances and shingled roofs. The natural rhythms of life are captured in splendid magnificence. The author had been a traditional folk dancer for many years and had performed with a traditional folk dance group which piqued his interest in the Hungarian culture. He became in his words "enthralled" by the music and dance of Hungary and Transylvania. His brief autobiography in this book reads like a fictional novel as his involvement with folk dance, traditional folk music grew into meeting and photographing some of the ‘famous’ now deceased, musicians, dancers, who helped continue to keep this culture living. It culminated in his moving to Hungary in 1995 and participating in its modern history. Most highly recommended book.”
- Erika Borsos, Florida, USA
Stephen Spinder Fine Art Photography,
119 Hidden Valley Road
Rochester, New York 14624
America tel.: 00 1 585 247 7956
Budapest tel.: 011 36 1 331 2601
Mobile tel.: 06 70 214 7221 (Budapest)