Kathleen McLaughlin – The Color of Hay
“Transylvania at the turn of the Millennium is an island of waterwheels and horse-carts facing erosion by the incoming tide of a modernizing European Union. During this pivotal time, in a remote valley of northern Romania called Maramures, peasants have kept their traditions alive and defied assimilation since the Romans. Now, a final generation is going about their daily farming chores and raising children who have the opportunity to leave their ancestral villages and make a modern life in a world of change. For over two years, Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin and her husband H. Woods lived as peasants do—relying on a wood burning stove, bathing without running water, and sharing one roof with three generations. Kathleen’s medium format photographs cover all four seasons of life in Maramures. Essays from H. Woods help add depth and explanation.”
Cocoana, Sîrbi, 2000
On Easter morning, Victoriþa wears a typical “cãmaºã” made for little girls. It takes up to four months for a woman to cut away the threads that make the holes and frills in this blouse. If the women in a girl’s family haven’t the eyesight or the time to make these clothes, they can purchase them for the equivalent of three month’s family income.
After the Funeral, Vãleni, 2000
After the body is buried, mourners return to the deceased’s home for the feast. Because a funeral service typically lasts four hours, appetites have peaked. No manner of bad weather will discourage the crowd.
Drying the Harvest, Sîrbi, 2000
They must stack their oat bundles on a pole to dry. After two weeks, they will thresh the crop by watermill, paying with a portion of their yield. The work of plowing, planting, harvesting and threshing the oat crop brings less joy than does a wheat or corn crop. That is because villagers consider oats impossible to eat. Every grain will be fed to their animals and will serve humans only as fatback, milk or the labor of horses.
Demian and his Nephew, Sîrbi, 1999
If a person dies without children, they will sing at the funeral that this life had no meaning. Demian is still a boy, since he has never married. To make his failure less of a burden, his sister sends his nephew Vasile to visit, giving him a say in the boy’s upbringing.
The Color of Hay: The Peasants of Maramures
Text by H. Woods McLaughlin 204 pp., 44 color and 94 duotone illustrations, 9″x12″.
This book was released in March, 2011.
You can purchase it from www.colorofhay.com/purchase