French-born photographer Grégoire Bernardi came upon the town of Glastonbury by chance, on a weekend trip with friends who had heard that Somerset was the perfect urban antidote. Like most people, he knew Glastonbury only as the namesake of the renowned outdoor music festival, which actually takes place in a neighboring village, but when he arrived in the picturesque town, he found it rife with centuries-old legends of its own, kept alive by a diverse community of New Age and pagan worshippers attracted by the indiscriminate mysticism of the surrounding landscape.
It is with a self-aware sort of swollen nostalgia, colored by childhood, memory, and the distinctive confines of a particular historical moment that photographer Michal Solarski recalls the annual holiday trek made with his family in the early ‘80s from Soviet-controlled Poland to the Hungarian Lake Balaton—or the Hungarian Sea, as it is still often called by the land-locked Hungarians who vacation there. Like Dorothy whisked away from dreary, storm-struck Kansas to the magnificent Land of Oz, Solarski arrived at Lake Balaton as one temporarily but rapturously suspended from reality. Over the course of the 300-mile car trip, the cold monochrome scenery seemed to gradually dissolve into a vivid Technicolor dreamscape abounding with sights, sounds, and smells, all drunk in ravenously upon arrival through senses starved by daily life in the occupied East Bloc.