Below you may read an excerpt from the preface of the photo album Last transhumance:

I started this project for several reasons.

The first was curiosity. Traveling by train or by car I have seen sheep in the fields. Close to the sheep was a shepherd. I was curious to know more about shepherds: where they sleep, what they eat, what they do during all day long, during the entire year … I have found out that there are shepherds who roam every day with their sheep, hundreds of kilometres in a year, who sleep wherever the night covers them, under the sky, regardless of the season. They live in a different realm, in a different time, following a quasi-cosmic calendar. Yet, from time to time, we come across them.

Another reason is that I like cheese. It seems that cheese is one of the oldest staples of Romanian exports. ‘Etymologically the word “brânză” (cheese) originates most probably from the Geto-Dacian language; it was adopted by almost all the languages that surround us.’ (The Dictionary of Traveling Words by Alexandru Graur). Due to my visual arts background, I have tried to narrate the story of cheese and its authors in my language, that is to say through images.

The third reason is the extinction of transhumance. Due to social changes, shepherds do not want to be shepherds anymore. Or, at least, they do not want to travel every day, every year, throughout their lives. Shepherding is more than a job. It is a hard way of life. It is very intense. Fewer and fewer shepherds are prepared to make the sacrifice.The title of this project “The Last Transhumance” came from a Romanian shepherding family which had been travelling for generations. I followed them for 18 months. After that they told me they wanted to give up transhumance, or “transformance” as they were calling it. They have remained shepherds, but now they are sedentary ones. In the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran we read that: “Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a worker of the ground”. Ancestrally, somewhere along the line, we all had a shepherd in our families. We are witnessing the extinction of an ancient way of life, when people were content to live around a camp fire. I cannot stop the fire from going out, but I can try to record its dying embers.

Dragoş Lumpan