Pic Of The Week (52/2011)

Face of a protester during a rally of Bulgarian railway workers in Sofia, November 2011.

Protesting railway worker during the first day of the railway strike in Bulgaria, November 2011
Protesting worker during the first day of the railway strike in Bulgaria, November 2011 (www.jb-photography.org)

On the first day of what turned out to be a 23-day strike of Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) employees, about 150 rallied on Sofia’s central railway station. The BDZ workers demonstrated against the planned slashing of 3000 jobs and most protesters were simply scared to lose their income.

Unlike in many other EU-countries, in Bulgaria there is little or no chance for a middle-aged person to find a new job these days. Official unemployment runs at about 15 percent, but that of course does not count people who gave up registering. To stay registered you have to go to an unemployment office – mostly at the other end of town – and wait there, sometimes for half a day, until some petty bureaucrat gives you a stamp, a signature and tells you when to show up next month.

Taking photographs of people on the street in Bulgaria sometimes is not an easy task because they are afraid to lose their dignity. The participants in this rally, however, were happy to have their pictures taken. The overall mood was peaceful, even relaxed, but on some of the faces showed that it was not just a walk in the park what was happening here.

The eyes of this man in the colors of Podkrepa, one of the big trade unions in Bulgaria, tell the whole story…

A technical note: even viewed at 100%, with ISO 1000 there is very little noise visible in this shot. Canon did a lot to improve on that during the last years. On the other hand, Auto-Whitebalance in anything but bright daylight is – as usual – way off the mark (in the original RAW the face of the guy looks like he has spent the night in the morgue).

Canon EOS 50D & Canon EF 4/70-200 mm L USM; f5.0, 1/100; ISO 1000

More shots from that demonstration can be viewed at JB Photography – Bulgarian Railway Strike.

(Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter/JB Photography)