Krish Makhija records his journey through Estonia.
I’ve been travelling around and living in Estonia for the last 6 months and have been actively shooting and trying to capture my experiences and adventures on film. I wanted to understand the possibilities of exhibiting a series of photographs from these explorations.
Being my first time in Europe, everything is a sharp contrast from the way things work and feel back in India. When I got to Estonia, I definitely felt these differences and was immediately sucked into this almost alien world of icy winters, abandoned prisons and stunning landscapes. What I’ve tried to do here is capture my travels, adventures and everyday wanderings through this beautiful country the only way I know how.
I was lucky enough to come in possession of 2 fantastic cameras, a Canon A1 and a Sokol 2, which have been my primary methods of capture, with the help of an array of different film stocks that I wanted to experiment with. Some images have been developed at home as part of my dark room experimentation in a friend’s bathroom as well. I’ve also tried to add a few comments and stories to accompany some images that help to explain some of my encounters with a little more of a personal touch. Built in the early 1900s, this beautiful structure used to be a grain elevator in the heart of the city. After many glorious years of being one of Tallinn’s noblest buildings, it lay abandoned and lifeless for many years. Currently it is in the process of being completely refurbished and converted into a swanky new office complex. We were location scouting in the countryside and stumbled across the cutest little house. On further investigation, we met this adorable lady who gave us a little tour and history lesson on the area we were exploring. Truly amazing human being right here, just wish I could capture the full extent of her energy with this frame. On our way to Naissaar, the ferry went through this beautiful bit of fog that totally engulfed the boat. We really felt like we were cut off from the rest of the world and had no perception of how far from land we were. All of a sudden this little guy popped up and told us we were on the right track. Being my first proper winter, the snow and extreme conditions were always a visual treat for someone coming from a city like Bombay. There’s this beautiful long stretch of trees right by the water. When it snows, it’s gorgeous and white, when it doesn’t you see the best sunsets. This was taken one night after a 14-16 hour shift. Tried to fool around with some long exposures. It isn’t the best, but I think it definitely conveys what driving home exhausted after long shoot days are like. Thank god I wasn’t driving. When bright sunny days are suddenly a rare luxury, you try to soak in as much as possible. Found these 2 gents enjoying a cigarette outside a little cafe in the old town. Trying to grab a little tan at the then end of a seemingly endless winter. This one was one of the first colour shots I took with the amazing 12 euro Soviet made Sokol that I found at a flea market. My boots started coming apart a few weeks ago and I tried to glue them back, but it was a disaster. Luckily I managed to find this awesome old Russian man sitting in a tiny stall smoking a cigarette who agreed to stitch them back for 4 euros. Through his broken english, I learned that he used to be well respected fisherman and travelled to places like Casablanca to fish back in the day. He now repairs shoes in a small cabin in the Russian flea market in Tallinn. His eyes still burn with an amazing sense of adventure. My name Boris I. Found this delightful gentleman while waiting for the tram. He had little specks of snow in his elaborate hat and the most imposing nose ever. (His name wasn’t really Boris, he just looks like a Boris). At the end of the semester, a friend and I decided to get tattoos. Through some bizarre coincidences and connections, we ended up taking a 3 hour bus ride to a little town called Tartu where we met Mico at his awesome little studio. We spent a very memorable afternoon there and came home very happy with some really beautifully done ink work. Mico really is a great artist and I think this image really sums up our afternoon with him and his energy. Spiralling out. Location scouting at some interesting structures around the city. This belongs to a recently restored grain elevator situated at the heart of the city. Stuck between a rich and noble heritage and a confusing and uncertain future, the building is currently at the cusp of quite a transformation. This was shot inside this old, abandoned Soviet prison by the Baltic Sea. The prison is called Patarei and was very important during Estonia’s long struggle with the erstwhile USSR. It is now open to the public to explore and a few weeks ago, we decided to go on a little adventure! While wandering around the dark and gloomy corridors, you tend to find bizarre objects and remnants lying around that make you take a second to just wonder what and why? This shot was taken in one of those corridors. The armchair suddenly caught my eye and I loved how the light interacted with the space around me. This shot was taken inside an adjoining medical room of the prison. As you can see, things lie around in shambles and complete disarray. But the remnant medical equipment, peeling walls and stained sheets were enough to create one of the most eerie and surreal environments that I’ve experienced. This shot was also taken inside one of the medical rooms of the prison. As you can see, things lie around in shambles and complete disarray. But the remnant medical equipment, peeling walls and stained sheets were enough to create one of the most eerie and surreal environments that I’ve experienced. Went for a weekend camping trip to this awesome island off the coast of Tallinn called, Naissaar. The island is inhabited by 2 families all year round and has a tiny little coffee shop at the jetty. Met one of the boys from these families on our way out and led me to wonder what life growing up in such a beautiful yet lonely and extreme location. A little before closing time at the Russian market on a Sunday evening, we came across this intense game of speed chess. From what I gathered, each player had roughly 3 minutes to outsmart the other. It was amazing to see these 2 gents going at it with crazy pace and precision. Tried to capture a small moment of calm and contemplation in the chaos. On a scouting expedition to find an underground tunnel, I managed to find this amazing and actually very colourful underpass near on of the railway stations and fell in love with the way the morning winter light interacted with the space. This is exactly how I picture my life in 20 years. Far away island, my boat parked on a cute marina right next to an empty beach opening out into a beautiful bay. Maybe I’d like things a little more tropical though :) This is another one from our trip to Naissaar, a small island off mainland Estonia. A small hike through the woods leads you to this isolated beach where we spotted a local couple stocking the boat for a small cruise.