Gripping Portraits Capture the Tender Bonds Between Transylvanian Shepherds and Their Herds

Image © Istvan Kerekes

In much of the Western world, mentioning Transylvania tends to evoke sinister imagery of dimly lit Gothic castles and notoriously blood-thirsty vampires. The region in central Romania has long been tied to the horrors of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, an association that overshadows the area’s rich history.

Hungarian photographer Istvan Kerekes has spent the last 15 years upending that literary connection by documenting the shepherding communities that have farmed Transylvania for centuries. Bordered by the Apuseni and the Carpathian mountain ranges, the hilly landscape is ripe with greenery and open pastures for sheep, cattle, and other livestock to graze. “When walking in some parts of Transylvania one would often feel that you have traveled back in time,” he says. “There is hardly any sign of modern technology here. It is as if time had stopped, while beauty and nature are preserved”

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