The Image: Christine Armbruster, from the series "Mortar Shells and Cigarettes"

Sarajevo is not a city that offers a lot of fun in the daytime. Everything happens at night. I relate this back to the years spent in the darkness of their basements during war, but perhaps I look into things too deeply.

When I saw this carnival being set up just outside of downtown, I was instantly intrigued. Making a pit stop on one of my final days in Sarajevo, I found something that still to this day amazes me. Swinging in the air, kids and adults lunging towards one another as they fly 50 feet above ground, desperately trying to grab one another’s hands in the midst of the carnival ride. Creating large linking chains and crossing the sky together. It was beautiful to see so much interaction amongst a group of people who were still pre-occupied by a war from 15 years ago that causes them to be so stern to this day. There was playfulness and a deep desire to touch one another, something I only found otherwise to be expressed in the large amounts of making out you see on the streets, in parks, on the train...but this was different. Innocent. It was a strong physical connection amongst such a stark landscape of bombed out buildings, lining the fair in complexes. It was this action that brought me back to humanity, realizing that we are really all just people with the same needs.

I photographed these screaming lines of people for a while when I noticed a smaller ride. Similar, less daunting, ready for children to mimic the same experience as the adults next door were having. There were only two children on this ride. Going around and around so slowly. I do not know who is humoring who in this photo. Or, perhaps, they too just needed to feel close.

- Christine Armbruster