Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.

Beijing to Sankt Petersburg: a surreal trip made and documented by Dee O’Connell

Hey, you know what? I almost decided to show you some photos of Iceland, with that kind of isolated landscape and towns with 5 inhabitants. But then I thought: it’s almost summer and you’re probably thinking of holidays and new places to see. So I picked Dee O’Connell’s old school and charming series of a trip she made from Beijing to Sankt Petersburg. With the Trans Siberian. My kind of holiday.

I never took the Trans Siberian but I almost saw it. We were two minutes late, after running like crazy, super excited, a bunch of international kids on a summer trip in Sankt Petersburg almost 10 years ago. Me and my life partner and lover and friend and everything in one, we met in Russia on that trip. We shook hands in Moskow, set eye on each other in Suzdal and planned to meet again in Sankt Petersburg.

The night train from Moskow to Sankt Petersburg was by far the most curious, extreme and uncomfortable train ride I ever had. Yes, you’ll think I didn’t take many train rides if that was the worst, and I can contradict you on that one. I did take worse trains. But now imagine a common vagon full of bunk beds and a Russian lady screaming something unknown with the hidden message that you’re not allowed to use the toilet. Not 15 minutes before a stop, not 15 minutes after. And somehow it felt like there was nothing in between.

Enough about me.

I don’t know much about O’Connell, she doesn’t have a website or if she does, I didn’t find it. I know she took this trip in winter because she got a discount from a shitty job she was doing and the trip was unpopular (why people, why?). The trip took three weeks, it started in Beijing and ended in Sankt Petersburg, and on the way the train stopped and the people in it slept in Ulaanbaatar, Ikusk and Moskow. Took this info from LensCulture and you can read more about O’Connell’s experience there.

There are three reasons why this photo series resonates with me. The first and main is because it captures something of how I actually imagine this trip to be. The second is the distinct Russian feel in some of the photos. Actually in many of them. And last it’s because I hope to do this trip myself one day.















ef06e0deea40a0d5e30c96c3b14f1063-largeAll images © Dee O’Connell

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