Photographers / Behind Walls

Behind Walls

Gábor Attalai

Gábor Attalai

IDIOTIC SYSTEM (Hungary, 1971-1976)

With his successive self-portraits the Hungarian art photographer Gábor Attalai symbolically illustrates the madness of functioning in a communist system. According to Attalai, the standard situation in communist countries was characterised by a suffocating lack of freedom and the ideological 'dialogue' that communist regimes tried to enter into with their subjects. Because of the one-sided nature of this supposed 'dialogue' it was perforce doomed to failure. In any case, the regimes were not interested in the views of the citizens; they sought only to impose their own concepts as the truth. Anyone in a communist state who did not want to be driven crazy had to act as though he was insane, says Attalai.

Gábor Attalai >>

  • IDIOTIC SYSTEM (Hungary, 1971-1976)

    With his successive self-portraits the Hungarian art photographer Gábor Attalai symbolically illustrates the madness of functioning in a communist system. According to Attalai, the standard situation in communist countries was characterised by a suffocating lack of freedom and the ideological 'dialogue' that communist regimes tried to enter into with their subjects. Because of the one-sided nature of this supposed 'dialogue' it was perforce doomed to failure. In any case, the regimes were not interested in the views of the citizens; they sought only to impose their own concepts as the truth. Anyone in a communist state who did not want to be driven crazy had to act as though he was insane, says Attalai.

  • IDIOTIC SYSTEM (Hungary, 1971-1976)

  • IDIOTIC SYSTEM (Hungary, 1971-1976)

Aulehla Gustav

Aulehla Gustav

THE WAY WE WERE (Czechoslovakia, 1963-1982)

Gustav Aulehla meticulously documented ordinary life in Czechoslovakia, photographing the cafés, orphanages, funerals and party meetings in Krnov, the town where he lived. As a chronicler of his time, Aulehla sought to observe, before all else. As an observer, he had a sharp eye for the contrast between socialist rhetoric and the cheerless realitiy. His photos of the extensive Soviet army base that was located in Krnov led to his being interrogated and having his house searched by the secret police. He was jailed once, but later freed as a result of an amnesty proclamation. He was able to keep his photographs hidden. Only once - in 1984, in the Czech city of Ostrava - did he organise a small exhibition of his work.

Aulehla Gustav >>

  • THE WAY WE WERE (Czechoslovakia, 1963-1982)

  • THE WAY WE WERE (Czechoslovakia, 1963-1982)

  • THE WAY WE WERE (Czechoslovakia, 1963-1982)

  • THE WAY WE WERE (Czechoslovakia, 1963-1982)

  • THE WAY WE WERE (Czechoslovakia, 1963-1982)

Svetlana Bahchevanova

Svetlana Bahchevanova

THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (Bulgaria, 1950-1956)

Before the Soviets occupied Bulgaria in 1944, at the most only the richest Bulgarians had a photo camera. After the occupation began the communists took control of public visual communication. Photography was allocated a central place in the propaganda machine. The images of THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER, found in the garbage in 1990, show how an anonymous photographer did what was expected of him. Idyllic images of modern workers and public parades predominate. Group portraits emphasise solidarity. Even in the case of activities involving one or two persons, several more workers are depicted. People posed in their Sunday best. Everything went to create an image as perfect as it was empty, while the atrocities that really took place, such as mass murders and work camps, went undocumented.

Svetlana Bahchevanova >>

  • THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (Bulgaria, 1950-1956)

  • THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (Bulgaria, 1950-1956)

  • THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (Bulgaria, 1950-1956)

  • THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (Bulgaria, 1950-1956)

  • THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER (Bulgaria, 1950-1956)

Andrzej Baturo

Andrzej Baturo

TO BECOME A SOLDIER (Poland, 1970-1979)

In the 1970s Andrzej Baturo worked as a photojournalist for the Polish media. For those who were sensitive to what they were seeing, his photo stories became reports on the inhumanity of the communist system. His To Become a Soldier is an example. In it one can see how recruits to the Polish army were deprived of their basic human dignity. Baturo was able to do the photographs under the pretence of working on a different subject. In the 1970s he sought to publish the series in an independent Polish magazine. Only the photograph in which a group of soldiers stand rigidly at attention in a line made it past the censors. In order to subtly indicate to the readers that the rest of the series was rejected, the editors provided the sole photograph published with the headline 'A Report on the Army'. Exhibiting the photographs was unthinkable.

Andrzej Baturo >>

  • TO BECOME A SOLDIER (Poland, 1970-1979)

  • TO BECOME A SOLDIER (Poland, 1970-1979)

  • TO BECOME A SOLDIER (Poland, 1970-1979)

  • TO BECOME A SOLDIER (Poland, 1970-1979)

  • TO BECOME A SOLDIER (Poland, 1970-1979)

Michal Cala

Michal Cala

SILESIA (Poland, 1978-1979)

The 1970s were the apogee for mining and the steel industry in Poland. Micha¸ Ca¸a became fascinated with the landscape that this industry produced in Silesia. The smoking chimneys, sombre mining towns and mountains of industrial waste offered a panorama as threatening as it was surrealistic. The immense pollution that these antiquated industries caused was then already a regular component in the communist landscape. Photographing industrial facilities was the equivalent of spying, and Ca¸a was once arrested for taking a photograph of a mountain of coal, but because his car, in which many exposed rolls of film lay, was not searched he got off with 24 hours in jail. Ca¸a made his photographs from a critical stance. He saw the intimidating scale of this industry, compared to the isolated worker, as a metaphor for the communist reality.

Michal Cala >>

  • SILESIA (Poland, 1978-1979)

  • SILESIA (Poland, 1978-1979)

  • SILESIA (Poland, 1978-1979)

  • SILESIA (Poland, 1978-1979)

  • SILESIA (Poland, 1978-1979)

Natasha & Valera Cherkashin

Natasha & Valera Cherkashin

PRAGUE'S PICKNICK (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

1968 was also a year of hope and change for the Eastern Bloc. The Russian leader Khrushchev had let go of the reins and and hippies and their values cautiously made their appearance even behind the Iron Curtain. In Czechoslovakia the Prague Spring was the symbol of the desire for liberation. In this period of a relative relaxation of repression the Czechoslovakian capital hummed with rumors. Everything was possible in the West; consumer goods were cheap and abundant, unemployment relief was higher than salaries in the East. The authorities turned a blind eye to contacts with the West through literature and radio broadcasts. But within the same year Soviet tanks put an end to the revival. All that was left were the photographs of the 'Prague Picknick', a performance about that short-lived sense of freedom which had flared up in 1968.

Natasha & Valera Cherkashin >>

  • PRAGUE'S PICKNICK (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

  • PRAGUE'S PICKNICK (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

  • PRAGUE'S PICKNICK (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

  • PRAGUE'S PICKNICK (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

  • PRAGUE'S PICKNICK (Czechoslovakia, 1968)

Füles (József Tóth)

Füles (József Tóth)

ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHS (Hungary, 1962-1970)

All Hungarians know what füles means - literally 'somebody with big ears' or 'to give somebody a smack up alongside the head'. And everybody knows that this is the sobriquet of the photographer József Tóth, whose advertisements embellished many Hungarian posters and magazines in the 1960s and '70s. These involved Western style advertising commissioned by the state. They exhorted people to buy brand-name products which were however at the most only produced for the export market. In Hungary itself they referred to a non-existent market, since a choice among different brands was not possible there. Internally the idea was to work up public interest in a particular type of product. For instance, ads for Golden Smart super-long cigarettes were intended to whet an appetite for their no-filter proletarian substitute. The optimism exuded by the photos was also supposed to make people forget about the absence of the Western products which were so much better than what was available.

Füles (József Tóth) >>

  • ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHS (Hungary, 1962-1970)

  • ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHS (Hungary, 1962-1970)

  • ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHS (Hungary, 1962-1970)

  • ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHS (Hungary, 1962-1970)

  • Advertising Photographs

Ion Grigorescu

Ion Grigorescu

ELECTORAL MEETING (Romania, 1975)

In communist Romania state-managed electoral meetings were the order of the day. Under the oversight of the feared secret police citizens had to testify to their adherence to the regime. Ion Grigorescu secretly photographed one of these meetings, organised on March 6, 1975. The results are especially revealing of the mechanism behind these demonstrations. The combination of the crowd, bewildered but docile, and the individual members of the secret police, created an absurd spectacle, lacking every form of spontaneity. These senseless and mechanical actions had no other purpose than to be a setting for role playing, imposed by a system of discrete but ruthless oppression.

Ion Grigorescu >>

  • ELECTORAL MEETING (Romania, 1975)

  • ELECTORAL MEETING (Romania, 1975)

  • ELECTORAL MEETING (Romania, 1975)

  • ELECTORAL MEETING (Romania, 1975)

  • ELECTORAL MEETING (Romania, 1975)

Juraj Kammer

Juraj Kammer

OFFICIAL (Czechoslovakia, 1981-1989)

According to good socialist practice, official events in Czechoslovakia were documented photographically. In the town of Humenné that was the job of Juraj Kammer, as the photographer on the payroll of the Regional Cultural Centre. In part because of the repetitive character of the subject, socialist heroism is far from obvious in his work. On the contrary; like the events recorded, his style is boring and uninspired. However, nothing more was asked of Kammer, who discharged his duties faithfully and acknowledges that he was a part of the communist propaganda machine. He felt no call to engage in a critique at the time: 'I was not in the resistance.' He does however insist that his photographs did not paint life under communism as rosier than it was. His apathy about the the events is clearly to be read in the photos.

Juraj Kammer >>

  • OFFICIAL (Czechoslovakia, 1981-1989)

  • OFFICIAL (Czechoslovakia, 1981-1989)

  • OFFICIAL (Czechoslovakia, 1981-1989)

  • OFFICIAL (Czechoslovakia, 1981-1989)

  • OFFICIAL (Czechoslovakia, 1981-1989)

Gábor Kerekes

Gábor Kerekes

THE PLACE (Hungary, 1970-1980)

In the 1970s Gábor Kerekes was one of the most prominent photographers in Hungary. His chief sources of inspiration were the absurd vision of the writer Kafka and the post-apocalyptic world (the 'Zone') from the film Stalker by the Russian director Tarkovsky. Kerekes documented the architecture of his country in a bleak, sinister style. According to him, these were images of the nightmare in which he lived. Despite its pessimistic slant, the documentary nature of his work made it difficult for would-be censors to ban it. Kerekes ceased photographing in 1982, tired of working on assignment. He destroyed almost all his photographs and donated the remainder to the Hungarian Museum for Photography. The fall of the communist regime in Hungary meant his rebirth as a photographer.

Gábor Kerekes >>

  • THE PLACE (Hungary, 1970-1980)

  • THE PLACE (Hungary, 1970-1980)

  • THE PLACE (Hungary, 1970-1980)

  • THE PLACE (Hungary, 1970-1980)

  • THE PLACE (Hungary, 1970-1980)

Janis Knakis

Janis Knakis

UNTITLED (Latvia, 1983-1986)

Janis Knakis produces photographs because he detests language. His experience is that language and words interfere with, and ultimately corrupt reality. For him, the illustration of his thesis, one that outstrips all others, is the effect of propaganda, a phenomenon that penetrated every corner of life in Latvia in the 1980s. Knakis has incorporated his views in a series of dark and surrealistic photographs. These montages were both a protest against and an alternative for the social-realistic visual language that was prescribed by the communists - according to Knakis, 'lords of the age of horror, who imposed their rules everywhere and soaked the colour out of the world.'

Janis Knakis >>

  • UNTITLED (Latvia, 1983-1986)

    Janis Knakis produces photographs because he detests language. His experience is that language and words interfere with, and ultimately corrupt reality. For him, the illustration of his thesis, one that outstrips all others, is the effect of propaganda, a phenomenon that penetrated every corner of life in Latvia in the 1980s. Knakis has incorporated his views in a series of dark and surrealistic photographs. These montages were both a protest against and an alternative for the social-realistic visual language that was prescribed by the communists - according to Knakis, 'lords of the age of horror, who imposed their rules everywhere and soaked the colour out of the world.'

  • UNTITLED (Latvia, 1983-1986)

  • UNTITLED (Latvia, 1983-1986)

  • UNTITLED (Latvia, 1983-1986)

  • UNTITLED (Latvia, 1983-1986)

Sergey Kozhemyakin

Sergey Kozhemyakin

THE CHILDISH ALBUM (Belarus, 1989)

Sergey Kozhemyakin makes new prints from old, frequently damaged negatives that he found in the wastebasket of a cheap photo studio in Minsk. The photos are of children posing in a hotchpotch of Russian clothing styles. The attire ranges from the kokoshnik (a traditional Russian women's head-dress) and uniforms from the Napoleonic era to contemporary military uniforms and insignia. For Kozhemyakin this monotonous succession of children in nationalistic costumes is symbolic of their spiritual situation. Under the totalitarian regime everyone must be alike. Outward appearances came before inner self, and was definitive for actions. In this perspective, the children's photographs are a tiny detail in a great mechanism that was directed toward suffocating the individual.

Sergey Kozhemyakin >>

  • THE CHILDISH ALBUM (Belarus, 1989)

    Sergey Kozhemyakin makes new prints from old, frequently damaged negatives that he found in the wastebasket of a cheap photo studio in Minsk. The photos are of children posing in a hotchpotch of Russian clothing styles. The attire ranges from the kokoshnik (a traditional Russian women's head-dress) and uniforms from the Napoleonic era to contemporary military uniforms and insignia. For Kozhemyakin this monotonous succession of children in nationalistic costumes is symbolic of their spiritual situation. Under the totalitarian regime everyone must be alike. Outward appearances came before inner self, and was definitive for actions. In this perspective, the children's photographs are a tiny detail in a great mechanism that was directed toward suffocating the individual.

  • THE CHILDISH ALBUM (Belarus, 1989)

  • THE CHILDISH ALBUM (Belarus, 1989)

  • THE CHILDISH ALBUM (Belarus, 1989)

  • THE CHILDISH ALBUM (Belarus, 1989)

Marian Kucharski

Marian Kucharski

THE COLLAGES (Poland, 1966-1968)

Until 1968 Marian Kucharski was a relatively obedient photographer. After that, the threat of new global conflict and the complicity of his homeland in the invasion of Czechoslovakia was too much for him. He changed his style and subjects. He processed his personal memories of the Second World War in experimental, threatening images. The army and technological progress became symbols for the dehumanisation in Poland and in the rest of the world. Kucharski created these images with a new technique. His own negatives were mixed with existing images to create symmetrical photographs which resembled paintings. The result was a critical answer to social realism. Because of their implicit character, at the time the photographs could still be normally exhibited in Poland.

Marian Kucharski >>

  • THE COLLAGES (Poland, 1966-1968)

    Until 1968 Marian Kucharski was a relatively obedient photographer. After that, the threat of new global conflict and the complicity of his homeland in the invasion of Czechoslovakia was too much for him. He changed his style and subjects. He processed his personal memories of the Second World War in experimental, threatening images. The army and technological progress became symbols for the dehumanisation in Poland and in the rest of the world. Kucharski created these images with a new technique. His own negatives were mixed with existing images to create symmetrical photographs which resembled paintings. The result was a critical answer to social realism. Because of their implicit character, at the time the photographs could still be normally exhibited in Poland.

  • THE COLLAGES (Poland, 1966-1968)

  • THE COLLAGES (Poland, 1966-1968)

  • THE COLLAGES (Poland, 1966-1968)

  • THE COLLAGES (Poland, 1966-1968)

Peeter Linnap

Peeter Linnap

SUMMER 1955 (Estonia, 1955/1993)

Peeter Linnap made new, life-size prints of old, generally damaged negatives from 1955. They show a number of Estonian cadets in Soviet uniforms who are amusing themselves with pistols on an idyllic summer day. From their playful poses, derived from cinema, one can deduce that this is not an official training exercise. The question is whether it went beyond rowdyism. Possibly their actions could be an ironic protest against the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. The photographs were made at the time by Enn Kiiler, Peeter Linnap's father-in-law. Because of their painful associations – Estonians were conscripted into the Soviet Army – SUMMER 1955 was initially exhibited outside Estonia, but not in the country itself. That only happened in 1997.

Peeter Linnap >>

  • SUMMER 1955 (Estonia, 1955/1993)

    Peeter Linnap made new, life-size prints of old, generally damaged negatives from 1955.
    They show a number of Estonian cadets in Soviet uniforms who are amusing themselves with pistols on an idyllic summer day. From their playful poses, derived from cinema, one can deduce that this is not an official training exercise. The question is whether it went beyond rowdyism. Possibly their actions could be an ironic protest against the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. The photographs were made at the time by Enn Kiiler, Peeter Linnap's father-in-law. Because of their painful associations – Estonians were conscripted into the Soviet Army – SUMMER 1955 was initially exhibited outside Estonia, but not in the country itself. That only happened in 1997.

  • SUMMER 1955 (Estonia, 1955/1993)

  • SUMMER 1955 (Estonia, 1955/1993)

  • SUMMER 1955 (Estonia, 1955/1993)

  • SUMMER 1955 (Estonia, 1955/1993)

Henryk Makarewicz & Wiktor Pental

Henryk Makarewicz & Wiktor Pental

802% ABOVE THE NORM (Poland, 1940-1960)

In the 1950s, at the dawn of Polish socialism, Nowa Huta was thrown up near Cracow. This new Polish city was to be the manifestation of the socialist ideal. The residents were brought there from rural areas in order to work at the Lenin Steel Works, in an environment full of propaganda. Nowa Huta was the model for the birth of a New Pole. Henryk Makarewicz and Wiktor Pental photographed daily life in Nowa Huta, something which was expressly against the rules. The results landed in a drawer for a half century. Ultimately Nowa Huta would play a large role in the resistance against the communist authorities and as the home base for the labour union Solidarity. Especially a years-long campaign for the construction of a church in the city proved to be the stimulus for national reforms in the late 1960s. The title of the photo series, 802% ABOVE THE NORM is ironic. It refers to the ridiculous production figures that were announced as propaganda. Because of their emphasis on the daily life in Nowa Huta, the photographs could not be shown publicly under communism.

Henryk Makarewicz & Wiktor Pental >>

  • 802% ABOVE THE NORM (Poland, 1940-1960)

    In the 1950s, at the dawn of Polish socialism, Nowa Huta was thrown up near Cracow. This new Polish city was to be the manifestation of the socialist ideal. The residents were brought there from rural areas in order to work at the Lenin Steel Works, in an environment full of propaganda. Nowa Huta was the model for the birth of a New Pole. Henryk Makarewicz and Wiktor Pental photographed daily life in Nowa Huta, something which was expressly against the rules. The results landed in a drawer for a half century. Ultimately Nowa Huta would play a large role in the resistance against the communist authorities and as the home base for the labour union Solidarity. Especially a years-long campaign for the construction of a church in the city proved to be the stimulus for national reforms in the late 1960s. The title of the photo series, 802% ABOVE THE NORM is ironic. It refers to the ridiculous production figures that were announced as propaganda. Because of their emphasis on the daily life in Nowa Huta, the photographs could not be shown publicly under communism.

  • 802% ABOVE THE NORM (Poland, 1940-1960)

  • 802% ABOVE THE NORM (Poland, 1940-1960)

  • 802% ABOVE THE NORM (Poland, 1940-1960)

  • 802% ABOVE THE NORM (Poland, 1940-1960)

Barbara Metselaar

Barbara Metselaar

KRATZEN AM BETON (DDR, 1970-1978)

In the 1960s the young people of East Germany watched how social changes arose from pressures created by their peers all over the world. For them, this created hope that there could be a social revolution in their own land. Despite the isolation imposed by their government and the ban on Western books and magazines, attempts were made to connect up with the international hippy movement. But the period of hope, euphoria and experimentation was short-lived. The authorities did everything in their power to bring the rebellious youth to heel. In only a couple of years the country fell back into its familiar state of paralysis. Barbara Metselaar, at the time one of the East German hippies, photographed the brief flare-up of youthful resistance.

Barbara Metselaar >>

  • KRATZEN AM BETON (DDR, 1970-1978)

    In the 1960s the young people of East Germany watched how social changes arose from pressures created by their peers all over the world. For them, this created hope that there could be a social revolution in their own land. Despite the isolation imposed by their government and the ban on Western books and magazines, attempts were made to connect up with the international hippy movement. But the period of hope, euphoria and experimentation was short-lived. The authorities did everything in their power to bring the rebellious youth to heel. In only a couple of years the country fell back into its familiar state of paralysis. Barbara Metselaar, at the time one of the East German hippies, photographed the brief flare-up of youthful resistance.

  • KRATZEN AM BETON (DDR, 1970-1978)

  • KRATZEN AM BETON (DDR, 1970-1978)

  • KRATZEN AM BETON (DDR, 1970-1978)

  • KRATZEN AM BETON (DDR, 1970-1978)

Galina Moskaleva

Galina Moskaleva

REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD (Belarus, 1989)

From her birth to 1960, the year in which she turned seven and her parents divorced, Galina Moskaleva's father photographed the family. In 1988 her father gave the negatives to her as a present. Moskaleva thought of the photographs more as a psychological investigation than as a collection of snapshots. With the aid of the negatives she began a reconstruction of her earlier life. For her, it was not remembering that was central to this process, but rewriting. Communism constructed a past that the contemporary Russian would rather forget. Moskaleva, on the contrary, wants to bring this past to life. To that end she literally revises the images of her childhood by colouring them in and duplicating them. The duplication points to how 'memory is never static, but always in movement'.

Galina Moskaleva >>

  • REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD (Belarus, 1989)

    From her birth to 1960, the year in which she turned seven and her parents divorced, Galina Moskaleva's father photographed the family. In 1988 her father gave the negatives to her as a present. Moskaleva thought of the photographs more as a psychological investigation than as a collection of snapshots. With the aid of the negatives she began a reconstruction of her earlier life. For her, it was not remembering that was central to this process, but rewriting. Communism constructed a past that the contemporary Russian would rather forget. Moskaleva, on the contrary, wants to bring this past to life. To that end she literally revises the images of her childhood by colouring them in and duplicating them. The duplication points to how 'memory is never static, but always in movement'.

  • REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD (Belarus, 1989)

  • REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD (Belarus, 1989)

  • REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD (Belarus, 1989)

Dimitar Nestorov

Dimitar Nestorov

UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1986-1989)

Nude photography was a taboo in communist Bulgaria. Both the authorities and public opinion combined in condemning it. For the former, such photography was capitalist propaganda for the West; for the later it was an unacceptable invasion of the private sphere. Thus it was not easy for the photographer Dimitar Nestorov to find models. For most Bulgarians, recording the naked body was nothing short of provocation. Nestorov drew his inspiration from Western photo magazines with nude portraits, which he encountered at the photography club at the university in Sophia. Making or exhibiting nude photos in public spaces was unthinkable in communist Bulgaria.

Dimitar Nestorov >>

  • UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1986-1989)

    Nude photography was a taboo in communist Bulgaria. Both the authorities and public opinion combined in condemning it. For the former, such photography was capitalist propaganda for the West; for the later it was an unacceptable invasion of the private sphere. Thus it was not easy for the photographer Dimitar Nestorov to find models. For most Bulgarians, recording the naked body was nothing short of provocation. Nestorov drew his inspiration from Western photo magazines with nude portraits, which he encountered at the photography club at the university in Sophia. Making or exhibiting nude photos in public spaces was unthinkable in communist Bulgaria.

  • UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1986-1989)

  • UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1986-1989)

  • UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1986-1989)

Andrei Pandele

Andrei Pandele

GREY DAILY LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM (Romania, 1980s)

In 1980 the Romanian dictator Ceaucescu planned the construction of an enormous monument to himself in the heart of Bucharest. Andrei Pandele decided to record the historic heart of the city in photographs before it was torn down. Very quickly he saw that the demolition was not the most serious crime afoot: erasing every memory of the pre-communist past was exceeded by the deliberate degradation of millions of Romanians who suffered from hunger and cold. Pandele then decided to focus on the drama of ordinary life in Romania. Photographing it was regarded as 'slandering socialist reality', and was a criminal offence. For instance, a man who had photographed a long queue waiting at a butcher shop was imprisoned for six years. Ultimately Pandele shot more than 1000 rolls of film. He trained himself to photograph in risky situations without looking through the viewfinder. In this way he created a unique report on the surreal life in communist Romania, with which he could only go public after 1993.

Andrei Pandele >>

  • GREY DAILY LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM (Romania, 1980s)

    In 1980 the Romanian dictator Ceaucescu planned the construction of an enormous monument to himself in the heart of Bucharest. Andrei Pandele decided to record the historic heart of the city in photographs before it was torn down. Very quickly he saw that the demolition was not the most serious crime afoot: erasing every memory of the pre-communist past was exceeded by the deliberate degradation of millions of Romanians who suffered from hunger and cold. Pandele then decided to focus on the drama of ordinary life in Romania. Photographing it was regarded as 'slandering socialist reality', and was a criminal offence. For instance, a man who had photographed a long queue waiting at a butcher shop was imprisoned for six years. Ultimately Pandele shot more than 1000 rolls of film. He trained himself to photograph in risky situations without looking through the viewfinder. In this way he created a unique report on the surreal life in communist Romania, with which he could only go public after 1993.

  • GREY DAILY LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM (Romania, 1980s)

  • GREY DAILY LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM (Romania, 1980s)

  • GREY DAILY LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM (Romania, 1980s)

  • GREY DAILY LIFE UNDER COMMUNISM (Romania, 1980s)

Uladzimir Parfianok

Uladzimir Parfianok

PERSONA NON GRATA (Belarus, late 1980s)

Towards the end of the 1980s the Belarussian Uladzimir Parfianok did portraits of about 25 of his countrymen. These were people who did not fit in the communist system, although they had been born into it and had to function in it. According to Parfianok, the degree to which they literally exposed themselves corresponded to the degree to which they did that figuratively. Most of the photographs were made in the homes of their subjects, without adding any items to the backgrounds. A number of the subjects - such as the man in the gas mask reading the newspaper Sovietskaya Kultura - decided for themselves how they were to be portrayed. Parfianok used an analogue camera and coloured and scratched the photographs by hand. Each result is as unique as the person it records.

Uladzimir Parfianok >>

  • PERSONA NON GRATA (Belarus, late 1980s)

    Towards the end of the 1980s the Belarussian Uladzimir Parfianok did portraits of about 25 of his countrymen. These were people who did not fit in the communist system, although they had been born into it and had to function in it. According to Parfianok, the degree to which they literally exposed themselves corresponded to the degree to which they did that figuratively. Most of the photographs were made in the homes of their subjects, without adding any items to the backgrounds. A number of the subjects - such as the man in the gas mask reading the newspaper Sovietskaya Kultura - decided for themselves how they were to be portrayed. Parfianok used an analogue camera and coloured and scratched the photographs by hand. Each result is as unique as the person it records.

  • PERSONA NON GRATA (Belarus, late 1980s)

  • PERSONA NON GRATA (Belarus, late 1980s)

  • PERSONA NON GRATA (Belarus, late 1980s)

  • PERSONA NON GRATA (Belarus, late 1980s)

Jano Pavlík

Jano Pavlík

ERNEST & ALICIA (Czechoslovakia, 1982-1988)

In the early 1980s a group of Prague photography students - later famed as the Slovakian New Wave - experimented with staged photography, multiple exposures and the manipulation of negatives and prints. The most original member was Jano Pavlík. He escaped from everyday reality with his frenzied concepts, characterised by feelings of powerlessness and apathy. One of his most famous projects was ERNEST & ALICIA. In this visual novella various models play the same man and woman. Although as archetypical as Adam and Eve, Ernest and Alicia find themselves in anything but a paradise. Ernest is often seen headless in the photographs, and Alicia is presented chiefly as an unattainable object. The underlying themes in this existential work are self-hate, punishment and the desire to escape. Pavlík further drew on the prints with ballpoint pens and felt markers, thus denying the multiple character of photography and giving each print a unique appearance.

Jano Pavlík >>

  • ERNEST & ALICIA (Czechoslovakia, 1982-1988)

    In the early 1980s a group of Prague photography students - later famed as the Slovakian New Wave - experimented with staged photography, multiple exposures and the manipulation of negatives and prints. The most original member was Jano Pavlík. He escaped from everyday reality with his frenzied concepts, characterised by feelings of powerlessness and apathy. One of his most famous projects was ERNEST & ALICIA. In this visual novella various models play the same man and woman. Although as archetypical as Adam and Eve, Ernest and Alicia find themselves in anything but a paradise. Ernest is often seen headless in the photographs, and Alicia is presented chiefly as an unattainable object. The underlying themes in this existential work are self-hate, punishment and the desire to escape. Pavlík further drew on the prints with ballpoint pens and felt markers, thus denying the multiple character of photography and giving each print a unique appearance.

  • ERNEST & ALICIA (Czechoslovakia, 1982-1988)

  • ERNEST & ALICIA (Czechoslovakia, 1982-1988)

  • ERNEST & ALICIA (Czechoslovakia, 1982-1988)

  • ERNEST & ALICIA (Czechoslovakia, 1982-1988)

Yevgeniy Pavlov

Yevgeniy Pavlov

THE SEVENTIES (The Ukraine, 1974-1978)

Vremya, a collective that practised subversive photography, was formed in the Soviet Union in 1971. Yevgeniy Pavlov was one of its founders. He wanted to shake people awake and shatter taboos with artistic photography. To the Soviet regime photography was exclusively a propaganda tool: officially, art photography did not even exist. Pavlov and his colleagues therefore ran the risk of prosecution for their photographic experiments. Two times Pavlov destroyed his negatives for just that reason. But he found that the freedom that photography offered him more than offset the risks. In his non-conformist images he touched on taboos such as nude photography and metaphysics. A first exhibition of Pavlov's work in 1982 was shut down on orders from the authorities immediately after its opening.

Yevgeniy Pavlov >>

  • THE SEVENTIES (The Ukraine, 1974-1978)

    Vremya, a collective that practised subversive photography, was formed in the Soviet Union in 1971. Yevgeniy Pavlov was one of its founders. He wanted to shake people awake and shatter taboos with artistic photography. To the Soviet regime photography was exclusively a propaganda tool: officially, art photography did not even exist. Pavlov and his colleagues therefore ran the risk of prosecution for their photographic experiments. Two times Pavlov destroyed his negatives for just that reason. But he found that the freedom that photography offered him more than offset the risks. In his non-conformist images he touched on taboos such as nude photography and metaphysics. A first exhibition of Pavlov's work in 1982 was shut down on orders from the authorities immediately after its opening.

  • THE SEVENTIES (The Ukraine, 1974-1978)

  • THE SEVENTIES (The Ukraine, 1974-1978)

  • THE SEVENTIES (The Ukraine, 1974-1978)

  • THE SEVENTIES (The Ukraine, 1974-1978)

Stano Pekár

Stano Pekár

UNTITLED (Czechoslovakia, 1975-1981)

In Czechoslovakia in the 1970s there was one group who were largely able to avoid the socialist dictatorship: the students. In the shelter of the university campus they dedicated themselves to their own form of collectivism, far away from their harassed elders and the state-regulated society. They looked upon the ever-present politics as an unavoidable form of folklore. The Western souvenirs that students everywhere leave lying around were illustrations of their freer opinions and possibilities. Thus the campus was the place par excellence where the romanticization of the West took shape. Stano Pekár was one of the photographers who documented this youth culture, with the zest for living and outspokenness of his subjects.

Stano Pekár >>

  • UNTITLED (Czechoslovakia, 1975-1981)

    In Czechoslovakia in the 1970s there was one group who were largely able to avoid the socialist dictatorship: the students. In the shelter of the university campus they dedicated themselves to their own form of collectivism, far away from their harassed elders and the state-regulated society. They looked upon the ever-present politics as an unavoidable form of folklore. The Western souvenirs that students everywhere leave lying around were illustrations of their freer opinions and possibilities. Thus the campus was the place par excellence where the romanticization of the West took shape. Stano Pekár was one of the photographers who documented this youth culture, with the zest for living and outspokenness of his subjects.

  • UNTITLED (Czechoslovakia, 1975-1981)

  • UNTITLED (Czechoslovakia, 1975-1981)

  • UNTITLED (Czechoslovakia, 1975-1981)

  • UNTITLED (Czechoslovakia, 1975-1981)

Erasmus Schröter

Erasmus Schröter

INFRARED NIGHT SHOTS (DDR, 1980-1982)

The cultural and political climate in East Germany in the early 1980s was stifling. Expressions of art were only permitted if they showed happy citizens single-mindedly working together in constructing the socialist society. With his photo series Infrared Night Shots the East German photographer Erasmus Schröter tried to visualise the sombre mood among the people. Using an infrared camera and invisible flash he photographed people in large, dark spaces - solitary, withdrawn, without direction or perspective. Using this surreptitious technique, Schröter wanted to provide an implicit critique on a state that used similar technology to keep its citizens under surveillance. To avoid censorship, the photographs were only shown to others in the Leipziger Kunsthochschule or in their homes.

Erasmus Schröter >>

  • INFRARED NIGHT SHOTS (DDR, 1980-1982)

    The cultural and political climate in East Germany in the early 1980s was stifling. Expressions of art were only permitted if they showed happy citizens single-mindedly working together in constructing the socialist society. With his photo series Infrared Night Shots the East German photographer Erasmus Schröter tried to visualise the sombre mood among the people. Using an infrared camera and invisible flash he photographed people in large, dark spaces - solitary, withdrawn, without direction or perspective. Using this surreptitious technique, Schröter wanted to provide an implicit critique on a state that used similar technology to keep its citizens under surveillance. To avoid censorship, the photographs were only shown to others in the Leipziger Kunsthochschule or in their homes.

  • INFRARED NIGHT SHOTS (DDR, 1980-1982)

  • INFRARED NIGHT SHOTS (DDR, 1980-1982)

  • INFRARED NIGHT SHOTS (DDR, 1980-1982)

  • INFRARED NIGHT SHOTS (DDR, 1980-1982)

Gundula Schulze Eldowy

Gundula Schulze Eldowy

ARBEIT (DDR, 1985-1988)

According to the state ideology, in the DDR workers had to be portrayed as proud, self-confident heroes. After all, they were the ones who laid the foundation for the new communist society. Gundula Schulze Eldowy wanted to nuance this image. She photographed workers in situations where they were really performing work. In practice, this often meant having to carry out labour in the midst of dust and dirt, with insufficient light. Uncomfortable positions, sometimes alongside heavy machinery, were by no means an exception. Despite the often brutal working conditions, the workers appear unbroken. Their exhausted appearance reveals a resolve to maintain human dignity.

Gundula Schulze Eldowy >>

  • ARBEIT (DDR, 1985-1988)

    According to the state ideology, in the DDR workers had to be portrayed as proud, self-confident heroes. After all, they were the ones who laid the foundation for the new communist society. Gundula Schulze Eldowy wanted to nuance this image. She photographed workers in situations where they were really performing work. In practice, this often meant having to carry out labour in the midst of dust and dirt, with insufficient light. Uncomfortable positions, sometimes alongside heavy machinery, were by no means an exception. Despite the often brutal working conditions, the workers appear unbroken. Their exhausted appearance reveals a resolve to maintain human dignity.

  • ARBEIT (DDR, 1985-1988)

  • ARBEIT (DDR, 1985-1988)

  • ARBEIT (DDR, 1985-1988)

Vladimir Shakhlevich

Vladimir Shakhlevich

PORTRAIT FOR THE KOLKHOZ'S BOARD OF HONOR (Belarus, 1980-1989)

In 1980 Vladimir Shakhlevich photographed the leaders of the Red Banner collective farm. The photographs were intended for an honour roll, and were made close to their homes or in the subject's workplace. The photographs show serious, proud men clad in their neatest clothing. Some wear a medal for their services to labour. A drape is held up behind them, intended to provide a uniform background after the print is cropped. In 1989 Shakhlevich reprinted the photos, without cropping them. Thus one can see where and how the photos were made, and the emphasis shifts to their constructed character.

Vladimir Shakhlevich >>

  • PORTRAIT FOR THE KOLKHOZ'S BOARD OF HONOR (Belarus, 1980-1989)

    In 1980 Vladimir Shakhlevich photographed the leaders of the Red Banner collective farm. The photographs were intended for an honour roll, and were made close to their homes or in the subject's workplace. The photographs show serious, proud men clad in their neatest clothing. Some wear a medal for their services to labour. A drape is held up behind them, intended to provide a uniform background after the print is cropped. In 1989 Shakhlevich reprinted the photos, without cropping them. Thus one can see where and how the photos were made, and the emphasis shifts to their constructed character.

  • PORTRAIT FOR THE KOLKHOZ'S BOARD OF HONOR (Belarus, 1980-1989)

  • PORTRAIT FOR THE KOLKHOZ'S BOARD OF HONOR (Belarus, 1980-1989)

  • PORTRAIT FOR THE KOLKHOZ'S BOARD OF HONOR (Belarus, 1980-1989)

  • PORTRAIT FOR THE KOLKHOZ'S BOARD OF HONOR (Belarus, 1980-1989)

Vytautas Stanionis

Vytautas Stanionis

FESTIVALS (Lithuania, 1957-1959)

Vytautas Stanionis began his career as a photographer in 1946. His first assignment from the Lithuanian authorities was to do identity photos for the newly introduced Soviet passports. After that he worked as a photojournalist for various Lithuanian newspapers and magazines. In the 1950s and '60s he also published a number of photo books. Stanionis's photos give a picture of post-war Lithuania. The hope of the interbellum years has been exchanged for nostalgia and indifference. The rituals and celebrations that were introduced by the Soviet regime were therefore performed without enthusiasm or with feigned interest. While FESTIVALS was being shot, Lithuanian partisans were still battling against the occupying Russians, who pursued them mercilessly.

Vytautas Stanionis >>

  • FESTIVALS (Lithuania, 1957-1959)

    Vytautas Stanionis began his career as a photographer in 1946. His first assignment from the Lithuanian authorities was to do identity photos for the newly introduced Soviet passports. After that he worked as a photojournalist for various Lithuanian newspapers and magazines. In the 1950s and '60s he also published a number of photo books. Stanionis's photos give a picture of post-war Lithuania. The hope of the interbellum years has been exchanged for nostalgia and indifference. The rituals and celebrations that were introduced by the Soviet regime were therefore performed without enthusiasm or with feigned interest. While FESTIVALS was being shot, Lithuanian partisans were still battling against the occupying Russians, who pursued them mercilessly.

  • FESTIVALS (Lithuania, 1957-1959)

  • FESTIVALS (Lithuania, 1957-1959)

  • FESTIVALS (Lithuania, 1957-1959)

  • FESTIVALS (Lithuania, 1957-1959)

Jane Stravs

Jane Stravs

80'S (Yugoslavia, 1982)

After the death of Marshall Tito in 1980 the cultural climate in Yugoslavia became freer. That opened up the way for underground artists who experimented with video, theatre and music. Jane Stravs, then seventeen, was impressed by the vitality and rebellious attitude of this movement in his homeland of Slovenia, which was then still a part of the Yugoslav federation. From his enthusiasm he recorded the underground scene, without realising he was producing iconic images. For instance, he recorded the first performances of the post-punk band Laibach in 1982, at that time still banned because of its flirtation with fascist symbols. Singer Tomaz Hostnik, the personification of the artistic explosion in Slovenia, took his own life later the same year.

Jane Stravs >>

  • 80'S (Yugoslavia, 1982)

    After the death of Marshall Tito in 1980 the cultural climate in Yugoslavia became freer. That opened up the way for underground artists who experimented with video, theatre and music. Jane Stravs, then seventeen, was impressed by the vitality and rebellious attitude of this movement in his homeland of Slovenia, which was then still a part of the Yugoslav federation. From his enthusiasm he recorded the underground scene, without realising he was producing iconic images. For instance, he recorded the first performances of the post-punk band Laibach in 1982, at that time still banned because of its flirtation with fascist symbols. Singer Tomaz Hostnik, the personification of the artistic explosion in Slovenia, took his own life later the same year.

  • 80'S (Yugoslavia, 1982)

  • 80'S (Yugoslavia, 1982)

Antanas Sutkus

Antanas Sutkus

UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1959-1999)

When he was still very young, the Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus became acquainted with the cruelty of the communist system. His father committed suicide, his mother fled to the West and left him behind with his grandparents. Nevertheless, as a 'soviet photographer' he had to focus on the sunny life that supposedly was the creation of the communist state. He got around this rule by doing much of his photography in the countryside, where there was less surveillance. The putative allegiance of Lithuania to the Soviet Union also permitted extra latitude, allowing Sutkus to document everyday life in Lithuania, which was anything but sunny. He was also wise enough to never publish or show this work, such as a report on a school for blind children. When his photograph 'Pioneer' won an important Western prize in 1970, complaints to the Central Committee termed him the 'photographing Solzhenitsyn'. Although this title was not without its dangers, Sutkus rapidly became the most famous photographer in his country.

Antanas Sutkus >>

  • UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1959-1999)

    When he was still very young, the Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus became acquainted with the cruelty of the communist system. His father committed suicide, his mother fled to the West and left him behind with his grandparents. Nevertheless, as a 'soviet photographer' he had to focus on the sunny life that supposedly was the creation of the communist state. He got around this rule by doing much of his photography in the countryside, where there was less surveillance. The putative allegiance of Lithuania to the Soviet Union also permitted extra latitude, allowing Sutkus to document everyday life in Lithuania, which was anything but sunny. He was also wise enough to never publish or show this work, such as a report on a school for blind children. When his photograph 'Pioneer' won an important Western prize in 1970, complaints to the Central Committee termed him the 'photographing Solzhenitsyn'. Although this title was not without its dangers, Sutkus rapidly became the most famous photographer in his country.

  • UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1959-1999)

  • UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1959-1999)

  • UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1959-1999)

  • UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1959-1999)

Miro Svolík

Miro Svolík

ONE BODY ONE SOUL (Czechoslovakia, 1985-1986)

Along with Jano Pavlík Miro ávolík also belonged to the Slovakian New Wave. This group of young photographers left Slovakia in the 1980s to study at the art academy in Prague. Their free and independent spirit led to wild photographic experiments. They found the staging of photographs, with the aid of friends, a particularly rewarding tool. ávolík opted for a remarkable camera angle in these. By photographing the ground from some distance above it, he could use it as a background for his humorous and highly imaginative visual stories. He provided the results with titles as poetic as they were ironic, such as 'After my death, I went to heaven and from there, I now look down on all of you.'

Miro Svolík >>

  • ONE BODY ONE SOUL (Czechoslovakia, 1985-1986)

    Along with Jano Pavlík Miro ávolík also belonged to the Slovakian New Wave. This group of young photographers left Slovakia in the 1980s to study at the art academy in Prague. Their free and independent spirit led to wild photographic experiments. They found the staging of photographs, with the aid of friends, a particularly rewarding tool. ávolík opted for a remarkable camera angle in these. By photographing the ground from some distance above it, he could use it as a background for his humorous and highly imaginative visual stories. He provided the results with titles as poetic as they were ironic, such as 'After my death, I went to heaven and from there, I now look down on all of you.'

  • ONE BODY ONE SOUL (Czechoslovakia, 1985-1986)

  • ONE BODY ONE SOUL (Czechoslovakia, 1985-1986)

  • ONE BODY ONE SOUL (Czechoslovakia, 1985-1986)

  • ONE BODY ONE SOUL (Czechoslovakia, 1985-1986)

Lenke Szilágyi

Lenke Szilágyi

VIEWPOINT STATION (Hungary, Croatia, 1985-1989)

In the 1980s Lenke Szilágyi made a name for herself as an idiosyncratic photographer. Although her work appears spontaneous, it is often a record of a performance. The human condition is central to her photography. In sharp black and white contrasts she documents fleeting moments of human existence, almost beyond capturing. The melancholy result emphasises the lonely and forlorn state of the individual. That can easily be seen as implicit critique of life in a system oriented to collectivism. Yet Szilágyi was never consciously a political activist. 'Conflict and dogmatism are alien to my personality,' the photographer has said. 'If I must choose a side, I side with culture and tolerance.'

Lenke Szilágyi >>

  • VIEWPOINT STATION (Hungary, Croatia, 1985-1989)

    In the 1980s Lenke Szilágyi made a name for herself as an idiosyncratic photographer. Although her work appears spontaneous, it is often a record of a performance. The human condition is central to her photography. In sharp black and white contrasts she documents fleeting moments of human existence, almost beyond capturing. The melancholy result emphasises the lonely and forlorn state of the individual. That can easily be seen as implicit critique of life in a system oriented to collectivism. Yet Szilágyi was never consciously a political activist. 'Conflict and dogmatism are alien to my personality,' the photographer has said. 'If I must choose a side, I side with culture and tolerance.'

  • Viewpoint Station

  • VIEWPOINT STATION (Hungary, Croatia, 1985-1989)

  • VIEWPOINT STATION (Hungary, Croatia, 1985-1989)

  • VIEWPOINT STATION (Hungary, Croatia, 1985-1989)

Usha Tsonkova

Usha Tsonkova

HOMAGE TO RODCHENKO (Bulgaria, 1989)

In the early days of the Soviet Union Alexandr Rodchenko was a prominent figure in the Russian avant-garde. His photo collages and unusual camera angles made him a pioneer in the field of photography. In the 1930s he fell from grace with the Soviet regime. His artistic experiments expressed Soviet ideals less clearly than socialist realism did. Rodchenko began to make more conventional work, such as photo books on party bosses. After his death it appeared that in the books he had blacked out the faces of victims of political purges. Usha Tsonkova took Rodchenko as her inspiration for a series of newspaper clippings and photo copies in which former Bulgarian party bosses have been rendered unrecognisable. The red and white elements suggest the idea of an obituary notice on a bulletin board. HOMAGE TO RODCHENKO critiques the communist system. Still, the series was not banned; because of its abstract nature, the message slipped past the regime.

Usha Tsonkova >>

  • HOMAGE TO RODCHENKO (Bulgaria, 1989)

    In the early days of the Soviet Union Alexandr Rodchenko was a prominent figure in the Russian avant-garde. His photo collages and unusual camera angles made him a pioneer in the field of photography. In the 1930s he fell from grace with the Soviet regime. His artistic experiments expressed Soviet ideals less clearly than socialist realism did. Rodchenko began to make more conventional work, such as photo books on party bosses. After his death it appeared that in the books he had blacked out the faces of victims of political purges. Usha Tsonkova took Rodchenko as her inspiration for a series of newspaper clippings and photo copies in which former Bulgarian party bosses have been rendered unrecognisable. The red and white elements suggest the idea of an obituary notice on a bulletin board. HOMAGE TO RODCHENKO critiques the communist system. Still, the series was not banned; because of its abstract nature, the message slipped past the regime.

  • HOMAGE TO RODCHENKO (Bulgaria, 1989)

  • HOMAGE TO RODCHENKO (Bulgaria, 1989)

Nikola Vucemilovic

Nikola Vucemilovic

UNTITLED (Yugoslavia, 1955-1965)

After achieving fame as a partisan and war photographer during the Second World War, in 1947 Nikola Vuãemiloviç began to photograph for the Yugoslav navy. In the years that followed he recorded Yugoslav sea life on the Mediterranean Sea, in the Far East and Africa, and other places. In addition to his official activities, Vuãemiloviç worked autonomously. Nor did he have any problem showing his own work. That can be attributed not only to his position as a navy photographer, but also to the status of photography in Yugoslavia. As an 'applied art' the medium was not of interest to the censors, as opposed to art forms such as film, theatre and literature, which were regarded as creative arts.

Nikola Vucemilovic >>

  • UNTITLED (Yugoslavia, 1955-1965)

    After achieving fame as a partisan and war photographer during the Second World War, in 1947 Nikola Vuãemiloviç began to photograph for the Yugoslav navy. In the years that followed he recorded Yugoslav sea life on the Mediterranean Sea, in the Far East and Africa, and other places. In addition to his official activities, Vuãemiloviç worked autonomously. Nor did he have any problem showing his own work. That can be attributed not only to his position as a navy photographer, but also to the status of photography in Yugoslavia. As an 'applied art' the medium was not of interest to the censors, as opposed to art forms such as film, theatre and literature, which were regarded as creative arts.

  • UNTITLED (Yugoslavia, 1955-1965)

  • UNTITLED (Yugoslavia, 1955-1965)

  • UNTITLED (Yugoslavia, 1955-1965)

  • UNTITLED (Yugoslavia, 1955-1965)

Krzysztof Cichosz

Krzysztof Cichosz

POST-REPORT (Poland, 1981-1985)

In the early 1980s, with his collages of existing photographs Krzysztof Cichosz created his own personal protest against the political developments in Poland. The results focused on the most important events of that day, such as the massive protests against the totalitarian regime, the imprisonment of the most important opposition leaders, and the deaths of the defiant shipyard workers. Cichosz filled the photos with his own symbolism. For instance, he excised sections as a reference to the disappearance of arrested opposition leaders. He called the series 'Po-reportaz', or literally 'after-reports'. Although Cichosz already won an important Polish photography prize with the series in 1981, they, like all critical photographs, could not at first be shown. That was permitted only in 1985, when the communist regime relaxed the reins somewhat.

Krzysztof Cichosz >>

  • POST-REPORT (Poland, 1981-1985)

    In the early 1980s, with his collages of existing photographs Krzysztof Cichosz created his own personal protest against the political developments in Poland. The results focused on the most important events of that day, such as the massive protests against the totalitarian regime, the imprisonment of the most important opposition leaders, and the deaths of the defiant shipyard workers. Cichosz filled the photos with his own symbolism. For instance, he excised sections as a reference to the disappearance of arrested opposition leaders. He called the series 'Po-reportaz', or literally 'after-reports'. Although Cichosz already won an important Polish photography prize with the series in 1981, they, like all critical photographs, could not at first be shown. That was permitted only in 1985, when the communist regime relaxed the reins somewhat.

  • POST-REPORT (Poland, 1981-1985)

  • POST-REPORT (Poland, 1981-1985)

Garo Keshishian

Garo Keshishian

LABOUR TROOPS (Bulgaria, 1981-1994)

From 1929 to 2000 Bulgaria had what were called Labour Troops. Conscripts in this military-style labour force had to perform heavy labour for a period of two to three years, without salary, and their living conditions were comparable to those in a prison. The conscripts were primarily political dissidents and minority groups such as gypsies and ethnic Turks. In 1981, through a combination of persistence, personal contacts and good luck, Garo Keshishian obtained permission to make a photo series about the Labour Troops. He won the trust of the labourers, and as a result was able to record their daily struggle to maintain their human dignity under inhumane conditions. By maintaining a low profile, he was able to continue to photograph the Labour Troops for thirteen years.

Garo Keshishian >>

  • LABOUR TROOPS (Bulgaria, 1981-1994)

    From 1929 to 2000 Bulgaria had what were called Labour Troops. Conscripts in this military-style labour force had to perform heavy labour for a period of two to three years, without salary, and their living conditions were comparable to those in a prison. The conscripts were primarily political dissidents and minority groups such as gypsies and ethnic Turks. In 1981, through a combination of persistence, personal contacts and good luck, Garo Keshishian obtained permission to make a photo series about the Labour Troops. He won the trust of the labourers, and as a result was able to record their daily struggle to maintain their human dignity under inhumane conditions. By maintaining a low profile, he was able to continue to photograph the Labour Troops for thirteen years.

  • LABOUR TROOPS (Bulgaria, 1981-1994)

  • LABOUR TROOPS (Bulgaria, 1981-1994)

  • LABOUR TROOPS (Bulgaria, 1981-1994)

  • LABOUR TROOPS (Bulgaria, 1981-1994)

Jiri Hanke

Jiri Hanke

VIEWS FROM THE WINDOW OF MY FLAT (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1981-2003)

Between September 10, 1981, and January 10, 2003, at random moments JiÅ™í Hanke took photographs from the window of his apartment. When doing so he always turned his camera on the same point, a street with a pavement on each side, in the city of Kladno, which until 1993 was in Czechoslovakia, and after that in the Czech Republic. Each scene says something about the political climate in which the photograph was made. Hanke also took the photographs at different times of day and in different seasons. Because of this, the average street below his apartment in Kladno becomes a barometer for the everyday life of that city. Ultimately Hanke made 130 photographs from his window.

Jiri Hanke >>

  • VIEWS FROM THE WINDOW OF MY FLAT (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1981-2003)

    Between September 10, 1981, and January 10, 2003, at random moments Jiří Hanke took photographs from the window of his apartment. When doing so he always turned his camera on the same point, a street with a pavement on each side, in the city of Kladno, which until 1993 was in Czechoslovakia, and after that in the Czech Republic. Each scene says something about the political climate in which the photograph was made. Hanke also took the photographs at different times of day and in different seasons. Because of this, the average street below his apartment in Kladno becomes a barometer for the everyday life of that city. Ultimately Hanke made 130 photographs from his window.

  • VIEWS FROM THE WINDOW OF MY FLAT (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1981-2003)

  • VIEWS FROM THE WINDOW OF MY FLAT (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1981-2003)

  • VIEWS FROM THE WINDOW OF MY FLAT (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1981-2003)

  • VIEWS FROM THE WINDOW OF MY FLAT (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1981-2003)

Beyond Walls

Alen Aligrudic

Alen Aligrudic

MONTENEGRO – THE YOUNGEST OLD NATION IN THE WORLD (Montenegro, 2007)

In 2006 Montenegro was the last of the republics in the former Yugoslavia to proclaim its independence. Alen Aligrudic wanted to document the changes after that historic moment, and travelled through the largely empty country. It faces a future which, according to him, is anything but rosy. From the first day of independence, foreign investors have been buying up the land and real estate. The Mediterranean climate makes the ground so desirable that the lure of turning a quick profit on it has now destroyed rural life and the agrarian sector. At the same time the change-over to a knowledge and service economy has proven difficult. Many former residents of the countryside are also moving to the coast or the capital, Podgorica, leaving rural areas even more depopulated than they were before.

Alen Aligrudic >>

  • MONTENEGRO – THE YOUNGEST OLD NATION IN THE WORLD (Montenegro, 2007)

    In 2006 Montenegro was the last of the republics in the former Yugoslavia to proclaim its independence. Alen Aligrudic wanted to document the changes after that historic moment, and travelled through the largely empty country. It faces a future which, according to him, is anything but rosy. From the first day of independence, foreign investors have been buying up the land and real estate. The Mediterranean climate makes the ground so desirable that the lure of turning a quick profit on it has now destroyed rural life and the agrarian sector. At the same time the change-over to a knowledge and service economy has proven difficult. Many former residents of the countryside are also moving to the coast or the capital, Podgorica, leaving rural areas even more depopulated than they were before.

  • MONTENEGRO – THE YOUNGEST OLD NATION IN THE WORLD (Montenegro, 2007)

  • MONTENEGRO – THE YOUNGEST OLD NATION IN THE WORLD (Montenegro, 2007)

  • MONTENEGRO – THE YOUNGEST OLD NATION IN THE WORLD (Montenegro, 2007)

  • MONTENEGRO – THE YOUNGEST OLD NATION IN THE WORLD (Montenegro, 2007)

Balazs Gardi

Balazs Gardi

GYPSIES (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, 2005-2006)

Several decades ago nomadic gypsies were still to be found throughout Europe. Today their numbers have declined dramatically and their territory is limited. The change in their situation came with the disappearance of the Iron Curtain. Since then the relatively prosperous Roma and other gypsy groups have fallen into extreme poverty. Ecological, economic and political factors threaten their traditional romantic existence. As a result of discrimination, inadequate schooling and the disappearance of state-owned industrial and agricultural businesses, East European gypsies are faced with massive unemployment, health problems, illiteracy and poor living conditions. Many try to keep their head above water by begging, low-paid jobs and traditional gypsy professions such as wood carving and fortune telling.

Balazs Gardi >>

  • GYPSIES (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, 2005-2006)

    Several decades ago nomadic gypsies were still to be found throughout Europe. Today their numbers have declined dramatically and their territory is limited. The change in their situation came with the disappearance of the Iron Curtain. Since then the relatively prosperous Roma and other gypsy groups have fallen into extreme poverty. Ecological, economic and political factors threaten their traditional romantic existence. As a result of discrimination, inadequate schooling and the disappearance of state-owned industrial and agricultural businesses, East European gypsies are faced with massive unemployment, health problems, illiteracy and poor living conditions. Many try to keep their head above water by begging, low-paid jobs and traditional gypsy professions such as wood carving and fortune telling.

  • GYPSIES (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, 2005-2006)

  • GYPSIES (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, 2005-2006)

  • GYPSIES (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, 2005-2006)

  • GYPSIES (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, 2005-2006)

Andrej Balco

Andrej Balco

SUBURBS (Slovakia, 2004)

More than two million Slovaks – over a third of the population – live in large, blocky apartment complexes. In the 1970s about 97% of the new construction in Slovakia was comprised of such residential blocks. (In comparison: in what is now the Czech Republic that figure was 70%, and in Poland 50%.) Andrej Balco photographed daily life in these Slovakian flats. This led to the question of whether the lives of the residents were as uniform as the buildings were. In the midst of the broken mailboxes and the endless concrete he found surprisingly varied and lively scenes. In the grey, prefabricated world everyone tries to get a little color in his or her life, a process in which tradition and contemporary consumerism join hands.

Andrej Balco >>

  • SUBURBS (Slovakia, 2004)

    More than two million Slovaks – over a third of the population – live in large, blocky apartment complexes. In the 1970s about 97% of the new construction in Slovakia was comprised of such residential blocks. (In comparison: in what is now the Czech Republic that figure was 70%, and in Poland 50%.) Andrej Balco photographed daily life in these Slovakian flats. This led to the question of whether the lives of the residents were as uniform as the buildings were. In the midst of the broken mailboxes and the endless concrete he found surprisingly varied and lively scenes. In the grey, prefabricated world everyone tries to get a little color in his or her life, a process in which tradition and contemporary consumerism join hands.

  • SUBURBS (Slovakia, 2004)

  • SUBURBS (Slovakia, 2004)

  • SUBURBS (Slovakia, 2004)

  • SUBURBS (Slovakia, 2004)

Ivan Blazhev

Ivan Blazhev

MACEDONIA DREAMING (Macedonia, 2004)

Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1991. For Macedonia too the difficult transition to capitalism and democracy began. Initially the country was able to stand apart from the Yugoslavian civil wars, but ultimately it was not able to escape ethnic tensions and military conflicts. To this day Macedonia is pictured in the media as a directionless and corrupt land. Ivan Blazhev wants to disprove this stereotype. He spent the two years on the eve of the fifteenth anniversary of the country's independence travelling through the land of his birth, photographing the people, their activities, funerals, parties and all the other things which compose daily life in Macedonia. In this way he wants to show that his country is an infinite collection of personal lives rather than a geographical and political cliché.

Ivan Blazhev >>

  • MACEDONIA DREAMING (Macedonia, 2004)

    Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1991. For Macedonia too the difficult transition to capitalism and democracy began. Initially the country was able to stand apart from the Yugoslavian civil wars, but ultimately it was not able to escape ethnic tensions and military conflicts. To this day Macedonia is pictured in the media as a directionless and corrupt land. Ivan Blazhev wants to disprove this stereotype. He spent the two years on the eve of the fifteenth anniversary of the country's independence travelling through the land of his birth, photographing the people, their activities, funerals, parties and all the other things which compose daily life in Macedonia. In this way he wants to show that his country is an infinite collection of personal lives rather than a geographical and political cliché.

  • MACEDONIA DREAMING (Macedonia, 2004)

  • MACEDONIA DREAMING (Macedonia, 2004)

  • MACEDONIA DREAMING (Macedonia, 2004)

  • MACEDONIA DREAMING (Macedonia, 2004)

Anja Bohnhof

Anja Bohnhof

DDR – MUSEUM VIEWS (Germany, 2003-2008)

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the East Germans too wanted to benefit from Western consumer culture as quickly as possible. In one fell swoop all their old utensils went out with the rubbish. Today these utensils, along with furniture, dinner sets, clothing and appliances, can be seen in museums created just for them. Collectively these objects, which often bear witness to the hope for a better life, afford a picture of daily life in the DDR. Among many East Germans the displays call up feelings of nostalgia ('Ostalgie'). West Germans, on the other hand, respond with pique or ridicule. Anja Bohnhof photographed several of these privately-run DDR Museums in Berlin, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia.

Anja Bohnhof >>

  • DDR – MUSEUM VIEWS (Germany, 2003-2008)

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the East Germans too wanted to benefit from Western consumer culture as quickly as possible. In one fell swoop all their old utensils went out with the rubbish. Today these utensils, along with furniture, dinner sets, clothing and appliances, can be seen in museums created just for them. Collectively these objects, which often bear witness to the hope for a better life, afford a picture of daily life in the DDR. Among many East Germans the displays call up feelings of nostalgia ('Ostalgie'). West Germans, on the other hand, respond with pique or ridicule. Anja Bohnhof photographed several of these privately-run DDR Museums in Berlin, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia.

  • DDR – MUSEUM VIEWS (Germany, 2003-2008)

  • DDR – MUSEUM VIEWS (Germany, 2003-2008)

  • DDR – MUSEUM VIEWS (Germany, 2003-2008)

  • DDR – MUSEUM VIEWS (Germany, 2003-2008)

Irma Bulkens

Irma Bulkens

WAITING FOR TOURISM (Romania, 2008)

As a brand new member of the European Union, Romania has great expectations for Western tourism. But as of yet the flood of holiday-makers has failed to materialise. Many large restaurants, set up by hopeful entrepreneurs, are left with tables spread but no diners. At the most, the space is filled by noisy 'turbo-folk beat' coming from crackly loudspeakers or a showy flatscreen TV. The staff is comprised largely of young people who were born after the revolution. They kill time by SMSing, smoking cigarettes and staring emptily into space. Irma Bulkens portrayed this younger generation of Romanians, for whom the heritage of communism consists primarily of waiting.

Irma Bulkens >>

  • WAITING FOR TOURISM (Romania, 2008)

    As a brand new member of the European Union, Romania has great expectations for Western tourism. But as of yet the flood of holiday-makers has failed to materialise. Many large restaurants, set up by hopeful entrepreneurs, are left with tables spread but no diners. At the most, the space is filled by noisy 'turbo-folk beat' coming from crackly loudspeakers or a showy flatscreen TV. The staff is comprised largely of young people who were born after the revolution. They kill time by SMSing, smoking cigarettes and staring emptily into space. Irma Bulkens portrayed this younger generation of Romanians, for whom the heritage of communism consists primarily of waiting.

  • WAITING FOR TOURISM (Romania, 2008)

  • WAITING FOR TOURISM (Romania, 2008)

Bevis Fusha

Bevis Fusha

A SLOW AND MOTIONLESS DEATH (Albania, 2005)

In the communist era the Albanian region of Porto Romano was an important centre for the chemical industry. The chief products were leather, petrol, metals and pesticides. Since then the industry has almost disappeared, leaving behind 20,000 tons of chemical waste. The drinking water, vegetables and milk that are consumed daily by the 15,000 Albanians who live in Porto Romano are all seriously contaminated. Rather than move to a poorer region, however, they choose to risk damage to their health. 'Here we can at least make a living,' says a fifty-year-old shepherd. 'What else can we do?' In the meantime, leukaemia and lung and skin illnesses have become commonplace. Far from evacuating the area, the government on the contrary is encouraging migration by building new houses there. There is also discussion about reopening the chemical plants.

Bevis Fusha >>

  • A SLOW AND MOTIONLESS DEATH (Albania, 2005)

    In the communist era the Albanian region of Porto Romano was an important centre for the chemical industry. The chief products were leather, petrol, metals and pesticides. Since then the industry has almost disappeared, leaving behind 20,000 tons of chemical waste. The drinking water, vegetables and milk that are consumed daily by the 15,000 Albanians who live in Porto Romano are all seriously contaminated. Rather than move to a poorer region, however, they choose to risk damage to their health. 'Here we can at least make a living,' says a fifty-year-old shepherd. 'What else can we do?' In the meantime, leukaemia and lung and skin illnesses have become commonplace. Far from evacuating the area, the government on the contrary is encouraging migration by building new houses there. There is also discussion about reopening the chemical plants.

  • A SLOW AND MOTIONLESS DEATH (Albania, 2005)

  • A SLOW AND MOTIONLESS DEATH (Albania, 2005)

  • A SLOW AND MOTIONLESS DEATH (Albania, 2005)

  • A SLOW AND MOTIONLESS DEATH (Albania, 2005)

George Georgiou

George Georgiou

TRANSIT UKRAINE (The Ukraine, 2005)

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union the Baltic states were successful in their introduction of democracy. The other former Soviet republics generally had to deal with corrupt and autocratic regimes. In Georgia, the Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan what have come to be called the Rose, Orange and Tulip Revolutions eventually led to some reforms and democracy. But tensions remain, not only through their position between the expanding West and a newly assertive Russia, but through a succession of political crises. For instance, the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine has not brought about the desired political and economic stability. George Georgiou travelled around the Ukraine on public transportation to photograph the daily struggle its population faces just to survive. He saw travelling that way as a fitting comparison with the transition to new systems and the continual changes in the Ukraine.

George Georgiou >>

  • TRANSIT UKRAINE (The Ukraine, 2005)

    After the disintegration of the Soviet Union the Baltic states were successful in their introduction of democracy. The other former Soviet republics generally had to deal with corrupt and autocratic regimes. In Georgia, the Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan what have come to be called the Rose, Orange and Tulip Revolutions eventually led to some reforms and democracy. But tensions remain, not only through their position between the expanding West and a newly assertive Russia, but through a succession of political crises. For instance, the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine has not brought about the desired political and economic stability. George Georgiou travelled around the Ukraine on public transportation to photograph the daily struggle its population faces just to survive. He saw travelling that way as a fitting comparison with the transition to new systems and the continual changes in the Ukraine.

  • TRANSIT UKRAINE (The Ukraine, 2005)

  • TRANSIT UKRAINE (The Ukraine, 2005)

  • TRANSIT UKRAINE (The Ukraine, 2005)

  • TRANSIT UKRAINE (The Ukraine, 2005)

Claudio Hils

Claudio Hils

NEULAND (Germany, 1989-1999)

Claudio Hils documented the first decade of the new Germany, which he calls NEULAND. After the fall of the Wall in 1989 the mood was euphoric: from that moment the East and West would become one, and the West German social model would symbolise the end result. Hils was deeply sceptical about the optimistic mood, and decided to do his own investigation. In NEULAND he shows that the discrepancies between East and West Germany have indeed become smaller, but they certainly have not disappeared. Traditional differences have still not been overcome, and provoke mutual resentment. The then extremely positive mood in the German media to a large extent ignored the complexity of the reunification process.

Claudio Hils >>

  • NEULAND (Germany, 1989-1999)

    Claudio Hils documented the first decade of the new Germany, which he calls NEULAND. After the fall of the Wall in 1989 the mood was euphoric: from that moment the East and West would become one, and the West German social model would symbolise the end result. Hils was deeply sceptical about the optimistic mood, and decided to do his own investigation. In NEULAND he shows that the discrepancies between East and West Germany have indeed become smaller, but they certainly have not disappeared. Traditional differences have still not been overcome, and provoke mutual resentment. The then extremely positive mood in the German media to a large extent ignored the complexity of the reunification process.

  • NEULAND (Germany, 1989-1999)

  • NEULAND (Germany, 1989-1999)

  • NEULAND (Germany, 1989-1999)

  • NEULAND (Germany, 1989-1999)

Rip Hopkins

Rip Hopkins

RIGAS CIRKS (Latvia, 2003)

The Latvian Riga Circus, founded in 1888, is one of the oldest existing circuses in the world. It experienced its golden era during the occupation by the Soviet Union. The physical strength and skill of the circus performers served to convince the world of the superiority of communism. Under the Soviet regime Latvia was forced to accept large numbers of Russian immigrants. Half of the circus personnel are still of Russian descent – as are half of Latvia's population. Generally born in Latvia, after the fall of the Iron Curtain these Russians have been refused Latvian passports. That makes travel impossible, except to the 'fatherland' from which they are estranged. Many young Russian acrobats therefore dream of a future in the West. The Riga Circus has in the meanwhile lost its state subsidies. It is expected that its facilities will be torn down, so that its prominent location can become the site for office buildings.

Rip Hopkins >>

  • RIGAS CIRKS (Latvia, 2003)

    The Latvian Riga Circus, founded in 1888, is one of the oldest existing circuses in the world. It experienced its golden era during the occupation by the Soviet Union. The physical strength and skill of the circus performers served to convince the world of the superiority of communism. Under the Soviet regime Latvia was forced to accept large numbers of Russian immigrants. Half of the circus personnel are still of Russian descent – as are half of Latvia's population. Generally born in Latvia, after the fall of the Iron Curtain these Russians have been refused Latvian passports. That makes travel impossible, except to the 'fatherland' from which they are estranged. Many young Russian acrobats therefore dream of a future in the West. The Riga Circus has in the meanwhile lost its state subsidies. It is expected that its facilities will be torn down, so that its prominent location can become the site for office buildings.

  • RIGAS CIRKS (Latvia, 2003)

  • RIGAS CIRKS (Latvia, 2003)

  • RIGAS CIRKS (Latvia, 2003)

  • RIGAS CIRKS (Latvia, 2003)

Václav Jirásek

Václav Jirásek

INDUSTRIA (Czech Republic, 2006)

In what is today the Czech Republic, as in so many former Eastern Bloc countries, heavy industry was emphatically present in modern history as an icon of socialist progress. Václav Jirásek asks what can still be found of it in the post-communist era. He focuses particularly on firms from the 1950s, '60s and '70s that are still operating. Often they are balancing on the edge of bankruptcy, or are just at the point of being modernized. Jirásek photographed the architecture, which is entirely in the service of functionalism and derives a certain beauty from that fact. He also did portraits of the workers who, marked by heavy labor, almost blend in with their daily work environment.

Václav Jirásek >>

  • INDUSTRIA (Czech Republic, 2006)

    In what is today the Czech Republic, as in so many former Eastern Bloc countries, heavy industry was emphatically present in modern history as an icon of socialist progress. Václav Jirásek asks what can still be found of it in the post-communist era. He focuses particularly on firms from the 1950s, '60s and '70s that are still operating. Often they are balancing on the edge of bankruptcy, or are just at the point of being modernized. Jirásek photographed the architecture, which is entirely in the service of functionalism and derives a certain beauty from that fact. He also did portraits of the workers who, marked by heavy labor, almost blend in with their daily work environment.

  • INDUSTRIA (Czech Republic, 2006)

  • INDUSTRIA (Czech Republic, 2006)

  • INDUSTRIA (Czech Republic, 2006)

  • INDUSTRIA (Czech Republic, 2006)

Mindaugas Kavaliauskas

Mindaugas Kavaliauskas

A PORTRAIT OF KRAZIAI (Lithuania, 2001-2008)

Kražiai, a small city in the north-west of Lithuania, is inseparably linked with Lithuanian identity. For example, it played a prominent role in the Christianisation of the country, and in the development of Lithuanian poetry and science. Kražiai is also a symbol of national resistance. As the principal seat of the Lithuanian church the small city offered fierce resistance to the Russian tzar's Cossacks. Today there is little of this glorious past to be seen. Kražiai has to deal with a population that is ageing, as younger people emigrate to seek a better life in Western Europe. Their tickets are bought with money from the sale of milk at well under the market price, which gravely damages the city's most important economic activity. Thus, like so many cities in rural Lithuania, Kražiai is wrestling with the difficult transition to a new era.

Mindaugas Kavaliauskas >>

  • A PORTRAIT OF KRAZIAI (Lithuania, 2001-2008)

    Kražiai, a small city in the north-west of Lithuania, is inseparably linked with Lithuanian identity. For example, it played a prominent role in the Christianisation of the country, and in the development of Lithuanian poetry and science. Kražiai is also a symbol of national resistance. As the principal seat of the Lithuanian church the small city offered fierce resistance to the Russian tzar's Cossacks. Today there is little of this glorious past to be seen. Kražiai has to deal with a population that is ageing, as younger people emigrate to seek a better life in Western Europe. Their tickets are bought with money from the sale of milk at well under the market price, which gravely damages the city's most important economic activity. Thus, like so many cities in rural Lithuania, Kražiai is wrestling with the difficult transition to a new era.

  • A PORTRAIT OF KRAZIAI (Lithuania, 2001-2008)

  • A PORTRAIT OF KRAZIAI (Lithuania, 2001-2008)

  • A PORTRAIT OF KRAZIAI (Lithuania, 2001-2008)

  • A PORTRAIT OF KRAZIAI (Lithuania, 2001-2008)

Wytske van Keulen

Wytske van Keulen

ANDZELIKA (Poland, 2006)

Andzelika, a seventeen-year-old Polish girl, is facing a difficult choice: should she join her parents to live in The Netherlands, or remain in her familiar environment in Poland? Andzelika's parents, like many other Poles, left for The Netherlands because of higher wages and a better job market. The photographer Wytske van Keulen met Andzelika and became fascinated with the situation in which the teenager finds herself. On the one side there is a beautiful but sometimes dissatisfied adolescent who dreams of a better life with her family in The Netherlands. On the other there is the carefree adolescent who wants to stay with her friends in Poland.

Wytske van Keulen >>

  • ANDZELIKA (Poland, 2006)

    Andzelika, a seventeen-year-old Polish girl, is facing a difficult choice: should she join her parents to live in The Netherlands, or remain in her familiar environment in Poland? Andzelika's parents, like many other Poles, left for The Netherlands because of higher wages and a better job market. The photographer Wytske van Keulen met Andzelika and became fascinated with the situation in which the teenager finds herself. On the one side there is a beautiful but sometimes dissatisfied adolescent who dreams of a better life with her family in The Netherlands. On the other there is the carefree adolescent who wants to stay with her friends in Poland.

  • ANDZELIKA (Poland, 2006)

  • ANDZELIKA (Poland, 2006)

  • ANDZELIKA (Poland, 2006)

  • ANDZELIKA (Poland, 2006)

Witold Krassowski

Witold Krassowski

AFTER-IMAGES OF POLAND (Poland, 1989-1997)

With the collapse of communism in Europe old certainties disappeared like a breath. The social, cultural and economic reality in Poland, frozen for fifty years, also had to quickly adapt to the rest of the world. Industrial workers, the vanguard of the revolution, disappeared from the stage, ethnic groups were involved in massive migrations and unemployment soared, particularly at the village level. The unrest led to many protest marches. On the other hand, previously forbidden street trading now flourished. Young people, energetic and unencumbered by the past, seized their chance. For instance, they tried to escape the drabness of life by beauty contests. A class of nouveaux riches rapidly emerged, which imposed its consumerism and coarse taste as a new norm for the rest of the population.

Witold Krassowski >>

  • AFTER-IMAGES OF POLAND (Poland, 1989-1997)

    With the collapse of communism in Europe old certainties disappeared like a breath. The social, cultural and economic reality in Poland, frozen for fifty years, also had to quickly adapt to the rest of the world. Industrial workers, the vanguard of the revolution, disappeared from the stage, ethnic groups were involved in massive migrations and unemployment soared, particularly at the village level. The unrest led to many protest marches. On the other hand, previously forbidden street trading now flourished. Young people, energetic and unencumbered by the past, seized their chance. For instance, they tried to escape the drabness of life by beauty contests. A class of nouveaux riches rapidly emerged, which imposed its consumerism and coarse taste as a new norm for the rest of the population.

  • AFTER-IMAGES OF POLAND (Poland, 1989-1997)

  • AFTER-IMAGES OF POLAND (Poland, 1989-1997)

  • AFTER-IMAGES OF POLAND (Poland, 1989-1997)

  • AFTER-IMAGES OF POLAND (Poland, 1989-1997)

Masha Matijevic

Masha Matijevic

RUSEVINE (Croatia, 2008)

In Croatia the recent past is still all too much in evidence in the landscape. For instance, one finds many empty houses, that often are the property of the Serbian minority. Sometimes they are part of entire abandoned villages, sometimes the neighbouring houses are still occupied, and sometimes they stand isolated on hills sown with anti-personnel mines. Masha Matijevic surveys these 'modern ruins'. For her, the rusevine (ruins) are a symbol for the way Croatia is looking to the future, and dealing with its own past, scarred by way and ethnic conflicts. On the one hand, the dwellings are being fixed up as part of the moves toward Croatia's desired admission to the EU; on the other, they are left undisturbed as remains of a past which people would rather not discuss.

Masha Matijevic >>

  • RUSEVINE (Croatia, 2008)

    In Croatia the recent past is still all too much in evidence in the landscape. For instance, one finds many empty houses, that often are the property of the Serbian minority. Sometimes they are part of entire abandoned villages, sometimes the neighbouring houses are still occupied, and sometimes they stand isolated on hills sown with anti-personnel mines. Masha Matijevic surveys these 'modern ruins'. For her, the rusevine (ruins) are a symbol for the way Croatia is looking to the future, and dealing with its own past, scarred by way and ethnic conflicts. On the one hand, the dwellings are being fixed up as part of the moves toward Croatia's desired admission to the EU; on the other, they are left undisturbed as remains of a past which people would rather not discuss.

  • RUSEVINE (Croatia, 2008)

  • RUSEVINE (Croatia, 2008)

  • RUSEVINE (Croatia, 2008)

  • RUSEVINE (Croatia, 2008)

Lala Meredith-Vula

Lala Meredith-Vula

SHIFTING BORDERS (Great Britain, 2006-2007)

The British photographer Lala Meredith-Vula was born in Bosnia. Her mother is of British descent, her father an Albanian Kosovar. In SHIFTING BORDERS she makes a personal journey through British, Albanian and Kosovan culture. At the same time she tells the story of Albanian immigrants and refugees all around the world. In a mixture of nostalgia, dreams and homesickness she investigates themes that are inseparably linked with her identity: the transition from war to peace, from tradition to modernity and from communism to capitalism. Meredith-Vula photographed herself and a number of models in the landscape in traditional Albanian costumes. The one moment there is a sense of a timeless whole, the next of contradictions and disjunction – but yesterday and today always remain visibly interwoven.

Lala Meredith-Vula >>

  • SHIFTING BORDERS (Great Britain, 2006-2007)

    The British photographer Lala Meredith-Vula was born in Bosnia. Her mother is of British descent, her father an Albanian Kosovar. In SHIFTING BORDERS she makes a personal journey through British, Albanian and Kosovan culture. At the same time she tells the story of Albanian immigrants and refugees all around the world. In a mixture of nostalgia, dreams and homesickness she investigates themes that are inseparably linked with her identity: the transition from war to peace, from tradition to modernity and from communism to capitalism. Meredith-Vula photographed herself and a number of models in the landscape in traditional Albanian costumes. The one moment there is a sense of a timeless whole, the next of contradictions and disjunction – but yesterday and today always remain visibly interwoven.

  • SHIFTING BORDERS (Great Britain, 2006-2007)

  • SHIFTING BORDERS (Great Britain, 2006-2007)

  • SHIFTING BORDERS (Great Britain, 2006-2007)

  • SHIFTING BORDERS (Great Britain, 2006-2007)

Vittorio Mortarotti

Vittorio Mortarotti

TRACKS_01_SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)

TRACKS is a series of wanderings around the world by photographer Vittorio Mortarotti. The goal is not to discover a place, or even an identity, but chiefly to experience the realization that we are always under way. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina, was the first destination. With his camera Mortarotti wandered through 'sniper alley', the infamous fifteen kilometer long strip from Butmir to the center of Sarajevo. During the Yugoslavian war this was the only route to food, medicine and weapons for thousands of Bosnians, but in traveling it they exposed themselves to heavy Serbian fire. These horrors are to be seen in the photographs of Bosnian film material from 1992, images which will forever be linked with 'sniper alley'.

Vittorio Mortarotti >>

  • TRACKS_01_SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)

    TRACKS is a series of wanderings around the world by photographer Vittorio Mortarotti. The goal is not to discover a place, or even an identity, but chiefly to experience the realization that we are always under way. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina, was the first destination. With his camera Mortarotti wandered through 'sniper alley', the infamous fifteen kilometer long strip from Butmir to the center of Sarajevo. During the Yugoslavian war this was the only route to food, medicine and weapons for thousands of Bosnians, but in traveling it they exposed themselves to heavy Serbian fire. These horrors are to be seen in the photographs of Bosnian film material from 1992, images which will forever be linked with 'sniper alley'.

  • TRACKS_01_SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)

  • TRACKS_01_SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)

  • TRACKS_01_SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)

  • TRACKS_01_SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)

Vesselina Nikolaeva

Vesselina Nikolaeva

NO MAN'S LAND (Bulgaria, 2004)

Until 1989 the Bulgarian-Turkish border was the extreme south-east limit of the East Bloc. The border zone was heavily guarded and no one could enter it. It was also absolutely forbidden to film or photograph along the border. In 2004 Vesselina Nikolaeva was the first person since World War II to receive permission to document it. She found a desolate terrain that still clearly bore the scars of a decades-long military presence. Since then these have all been wiped out. So as to not be reminded of its communist past, Bulgaria has stripped its European borders of every reference to the Iron Curtain.

Vesselina Nikolaeva >>

  • NO MAN'S LAND (Bulgaria, 2004)

    Until 1989 the Bulgarian-Turkish border was the extreme south-east limit of the East Bloc. The border zone was heavily guarded and no one could enter it. It was also absolutely forbidden to film or photograph along the border. In 2004 Vesselina Nikolaeva was the first person since World War II to receive permission to document it. She found a desolate terrain that still clearly bore the scars of a decades-long military presence. Since then these have all been wiped out. So as to not be reminded of its communist past, Bulgaria has stripped its European borders of every reference to the Iron Curtain.

  • NO MAN'S LAND (Bulgaria, 2004)

  • NO MAN'S LAND (Bulgaria, 2004)

  • NO MAN'S LAND (Bulgaria, 2004)

  • NO MAN'S LAND (Bulgaria, 2004)

Lucia Nimcova

Lucia Nimcova

UNOFFICIAL (Slovakia, 2007)

Lucia Nimcova was twelve when the East Bloc ceased to exist. She now is seeking to discover what influence growing up within the communist system had on her. Through visual research she hopes to expose the form and structure of daily life under communism. She visited her birthplace, the Slovakian town of Humenné, and in the Regional Cultural Centre there found a photo archive of cultural events. The photographs in it were conspicuous for their indifference, having, for instance, little concern for composition and exposure. The person who made the photos was Jurai Kammer. Nimcova decided to photograph all the current cultural events in the same manner. She saw new façades, streets and sports complexes, but to her surprise still saw the same townspeople and interiors. The façade may have changed, but the community remained the same. Everyone still conformed to their role and the prime concern was still fitting smoothly into the larger whole. In Humenné the primary legacy of the communist era proved to be apathy.

Lucia Nimcova >>

  • UNOFFICIAL (Slovakia, 2007)

    Lucia Nimcova was twelve when the East Bloc ceased to exist. She now is seeking to discover what influence growing up within the communist system had on her. Through visual research she hopes to expose the form and structure of daily life under communism. She visited her birthplace, the Slovakian town of Humenné, and in the Regional Cultural Centre there found a photo archive of cultural events. The photographs in it were conspicuous for their indifference, having, for instance, little concern for composition and exposure. The person who made the photos was Jurai Kammer. Nimcova decided to photograph all the current cultural events in the same manner. She saw new façades, streets and sports complexes, but to her surprise still saw the same townspeople and interiors. The façade may have changed, but the community remained the same. Everyone still conformed to their role and the prime concern was still fitting smoothly into the larger whole. In Humenné the primary legacy of the communist era proved to be apathy.

  • UNOFFICIAL (Slovakia, 2007)

  • UNOFFICIAL (Slovakia, 2007)

  • UNOFFICIAL (Slovakia, 2007)

  • UNOFFICIAL (Slovakia, 2007)

Christoph Otto

Christoph Otto

THE ESTONIANS (Estonia, 2003-2008)

Estonia is a country in transition. It is a symbol for the situation in which most of the former Eastern Bloc countries find themselves. On the one side there is the inheritance of old European traditions and Soviet influences, on the other there is hope for a new future, free of Russia, with opportunities in the world market. At present that makes Estonia a divided land, according to Christoph Otto. Depending on where one looks you can imagine yourself in the past or in the future. Estonia tries to steer a middle course between hope and nostalgia – summed up by Otto in the words 'melancholy vitality' – as it seeks an identity of its own.

Christoph Otto >>

  • THE ESTONIANS (Estonia, 2003-2008)

    Estonia is a country in transition. It is a symbol for the situation in which most of the former Eastern Bloc countries find themselves. On the one side there is the inheritance of old European traditions and Soviet influences, on the other there is hope for a new future, free of Russia, with opportunities in the world market. At present that makes Estonia a divided land, according to Christoph Otto. Depending on where one looks you can imagine yourself in the past or in the future. Estonia tries to steer a middle course between hope and nostalgia – summed up by Otto in the words 'melancholy vitality' – as it seeks an identity of its own.

  • THE ESTONIANS (Estonia, 2003-2008)

  • THE ESTONIANS (Estonia, 2003-2008)

  • THE ESTONIANS (Estonia, 2003-2008)

  • THE ESTONIANS (Estonia, 2003-2008)

Sylvia Plachy

Sylvia Plachy

SELF-PORTRAIT WITH COWS GOING HOME (Hungary, 1956-2004)

Not long before the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 Sylvia Plachy, then thirteen years old, fled Hungary with her parents. The only things that she could take with her were one small suitcase and her teddy bear. She had to assume that she would never again see the country where she had been born. But much to her surprise, as a naturalised American she received permission time after time to revisit the country. During the forty years in which she paid visits to Hungary she assembled a photo archive from her own work and her family's photo albums. The result, a search for a lost childhood with Eastern European history as its backdrop, is just as mysterious and unpredictable as memory. The title – after the book that Aperture published in 2004 – refers to a self-portrait of Plachy in the rear-view mirror of an auto, with a farmer driving cows in the background.

Sylvia Plachy >>

  • SELF-PORTRAIT WITH COWS GOING HOME (Hungary, 1956-2004)

    Not long before the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 Sylvia Plachy, then thirteen years old, fled Hungary with her parents. The only things that she could take with her were one small suitcase and her teddy bear. She had to assume that she would never again see the country where she had been born. But much to her surprise, as a naturalised American she received permission time after time to revisit the country. During the forty years in which she paid visits to Hungary she assembled a photo archive from her own work and her family's photo albums. The result, a search for a lost childhood with Eastern European history as its backdrop, is just as mysterious and unpredictable as memory. The title – after the book that Aperture published in 2004 – refers to a self-portrait of Plachy in the rear-view mirror of an auto, with a farmer driving cows in the background.

  • SELF-PORTRAIT WITH COWS GOING HOME (Hungary, 1956-2004)

  • SELF-PORTRAIT WITH COWS GOING HOME (Hungary, 1956-2004)

  • SELF-PORTRAIT WITH COWS GOING HOME (Hungary, 1956-2004)

  • SELF-PORTRAIT WITH COWS GOING HOME (Hungary, 1956-2004)

Dana Popa

Dana Popa

NOT NATASHA (Moldavia, 2006)

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain trafficking in women has become the most profitable illegal activity in Eastern Europe. Women from there are sold into Western Europe, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, among other destinations. Victims tell horrifying stories of exploitation, rape and abuse. Often they become infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis or AIDS. Moldavia is a main source for Eastern European sex slaves. Dana Popa photographed a shelter there for women who had been freed from their 'handlers' and returned to their country. Popa wanted to record how these women live in secret with a 'broken soul': they cannot tell their mother or husband what happened to them, for fear of being thrown out on the street.

Dana Popa >>

  • NOT NATASHA (Moldavia, 2006)

    Since the fall of the Iron Curtain trafficking in women has become the most profitable illegal activity in Eastern Europe. Women from there are sold into Western Europe, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, among other destinations. Victims tell horrifying stories of exploitation, rape and abuse. Often they become infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis or AIDS. Moldavia is a main source for Eastern European sex slaves. Dana Popa photographed a shelter there for women who had been freed from their 'handlers' and returned to their country. Popa wanted to record how these women live in secret with a 'broken soul': they cannot tell their mother or husband what happened to them, for fear of being thrown out on the street.

  • NOT NATASHA (Moldavia, 2006)

  • NOT NATASHA (Moldavia, 2006)

  • NOT NATASHA (Moldavia, 2006)

  • NOT NATASHA (Moldavia, 2006)

Katarina Radovic

Katarina Radovic

A HUSBAND IN PARIS (Serbia, 2007)

A HUSBAND IN PARIS is a playful commentary on the marriages of convenience that many women from the former East Bloc enter into in order to get to the rich West. Katarina Radovic plays one of these women, seeking a husband in Paris, the 'city of her dreams'. She asks random men on the street if they would want to marry her. After getting acquainted briefly the men were photographed on the spot with her. The photos are intended to suggest that they are a happily married couple. The speed with which the picture is made symbolises the unabashed haste that Eastern European women have in arranging such marriages. It also touches on the apparent unconcern with which such opportunistic partners regard the cultural differences that are generally involved in such marriages.

Katarina Radovic >>

  • A HUSBAND IN PARIS (Serbia, 2007)

    A HUSBAND IN PARIS is a playful commentary on the marriages of convenience that many women from the former East Bloc enter into in order to get to the rich West. Katarina Radovic plays one of these women, seeking a husband in Paris, the 'city of her dreams'. She asks random men on the street if they would want to marry her. After getting acquainted briefly the men were photographed on the spot with her. The photos are intended to suggest that they are a happily married couple. The speed with which the picture is made symbolises the unabashed haste that Eastern European women have in arranging such marriages. It also touches on the apparent unconcern with which such opportunistic partners regard the cultural differences that are generally involved in such marriages.

  • A HUSBAND IN PARIS (Serbia, 2007)

  • A HUSBAND IN PARIS (Serbia, 2007)

  • A HUSBAND IN PARIS (Serbia, 2007)

  • A HUSBAND IN PARIS (Serbia, 2007)

Péter Rákosi

Péter Rákosi

LEFT-RIGHT (Hungary, 1996-1999)

Péter Rákosi photographed political demonstrations in the new Hungary, after the fall of communism. He chose dates on which the achievements of the communist and fascist past were celebrated, such as March 15, October 23 and May 1. The original meaning of the dates is related to revolution and class struggle. After 1989 these were however generally exchanged for contemporary concerns. Only the old iconography continued to exist. In this way the demonstrators presented themselves as relics of the past and as the losers of the post-communist era. With his 'post-historic' series LEFT-RIGHT Rákosi wants to definitively bury the past.

Péter Rákosi >>

  • LEFT-RIGHT (Hungary, 1996-1999)

    Péter Rákosi photographed political demonstrations in the new Hungary, after the fall of communism. He chose dates on which the achievements of the communist and fascist past were celebrated, such as March 15, October 23 and May 1. The original meaning of the dates is related to revolution and class struggle. After 1989 these were however generally exchanged for contemporary concerns. Only the old iconography continued to exist. In this way the demonstrators presented themselves as relics of the past and as the losers of the post-communist era. With his 'post-historic' series LEFT-RIGHT Rákosi wants to definitively bury the past.

  • LEFT-RIGHT (Hungary, 1996-1999)

  • LEFT-RIGHT (Hungary, 1996-1999)

  • LEFT-RIGHT (Hungary, 1996-1999)

  • LEFT-RIGHT (Hungary, 1996-1999)

Agnieszka Rayss

Agnieszka Rayss

AMERICAN DREAM (Poland, 2004-2007)

East Bloc countries had two TV channels at the most, and no glossy magazines. Freedom of expression and the free market were unattainable. After the fall of the Iron Curtain the whole region fell into the grip of American mass culture. An avalanche of new TV broadcasters, magazines, advertising and consumer goods brought about a cultural revolution. Trends in the field of fashion and lifestyle were avidly copied, Hollywood stars became the new role models. Attitudes regarding sexuality also became more liberated. As a prominent target audience, particularly women were susceptible to the appeal of American popular culture. Agnieszka Rayss, who is still surprised at the speed with which the capitalist dream was embraced and the loss of old values, documented the new, Western-oriented woman in the former East Bloc.

Agnieszka Rayss >>

  • AMERICAN DREAM (Poland, 2004-2007)

    East Bloc countries had two TV channels at the most, and no glossy magazines. Freedom of expression and the free market were unattainable. After the fall of the Iron Curtain the whole region fell into the grip of American mass culture. An avalanche of new TV broadcasters, magazines, advertising and consumer goods brought about a cultural revolution. Trends in the field of fashion and lifestyle were avidly copied, Hollywood stars became the new role models. Attitudes regarding sexuality also became more liberated. As a prominent target audience, particularly women were susceptible to the appeal of American popular culture. Agnieszka Rayss, who is still surprised at the speed with which the capitalist dream was embraced and the loss of old values, documented the new, Western-oriented woman in the former East Bloc.

  • AMERICAN DREAM (Poland, 2004-2007)

  • AMERICAN DREAM (Poland, 2004-2007)

  • AMERICAN DREAM (Poland, 2004-2007)

  • AMERICAN DREAM (Poland, 2004-2007)

Frank Rothe

Frank Rothe

RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND (The Ukraine, 2004)

Only the most exemplary members of the youth movements in the East Bloc were permitted to attend the Artek summer camp in the Crimea. Twelve-year-old Frank Rothe was nominated for it, but not selected. In the years that followed, he avoided Russia. Because of having to learn Russian as a child, he had an aversion to the country. In 1992 Rothe ended up in Russia by chance, became fascinated with the political revolution there, and decided to learn the language well at last. In order to get a better picture of Russian youth, he visited Artek in 2004. It was now a summer camp the size of a small city, where children whose parents could pay for the privilege could spend their vacation. Rothe photographed the holiday-makers unobtrusively, without tripods or flash units. Although the political dimension had disappeared, for Rothe it was a step back in time. Life in Artek still moves more slowly than in the West, and a sense of community is still central. Rothe titled his series RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND because the youth of Artek now have to manage without the certainties and clear-cut future promised in the communist era.

Frank Rothe >>

  • RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND (The Ukraine, 2004)

    Only the most exemplary members of the youth movements in the East Bloc were permitted to attend the Artek summer camp in the Crimea. Twelve-year-old Frank Rothe was nominated for it, but not selected. In the years that followed, he avoided Russia. Because of having to learn Russian as a child, he had an aversion to the country. In 1992 Rothe ended up in Russia by chance, became fascinated with the political revolution there, and decided to learn the language well at last. In order to get a better picture of Russian youth, he visited Artek in 2004. It was now a summer camp the size of a small city, where children whose parents could pay for the privilege could spend their vacation. Rothe photographed the holiday-makers unobtrusively, without tripods or flash units. Although the political dimension had disappeared, for Rothe it was a step back in time. Life in Artek still moves more slowly than in the West, and a sense of community is still central. Rothe titled his series RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND because the youth of Artek now have to manage without the certainties and clear-cut future promised in the communist era.

  • RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND (The Ukraine, 2004)

  • RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND (The Ukraine, 2004)

  • RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND (The Ukraine, 2004)

  • RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND (The Ukraine, 2004)

Igor Savchenko

Igor Savchenko

FACELESS and MYSTERIA (Belarus, 1989-1992)

The snapshots that Igor Savchenko draws upon were made in the 1930s, '40's and '50s. By scratching or bleaching them and removing elements from them and adding others to them, Savchenko gives them new meaning. Often only the outlines of a person and his/her relations to others and the surroundings remain. Glances and gestures become mysterious codes. The viewer is carried back to the moment at which the photograph was made, as if listening to an old gramophone record on which each cough in the auditorium can be heard. In the Western world Savchenko's work is related to the destruction of the individual by the Soviet regime. In extreme cases Soviet citizens burned their family albums on their own initiative. With images from the series FACELESS and MYSTERIA Savchenko pauses to honour the fact that personal memories do not yield themselves to collectivisation.

Igor Savchenko >>

  • FACELESS and MYSTERIA (Belarus, 1989-1992)

    The snapshots that Igor Savchenko draws upon were made in the 1930s, '40's and '50s. By scratching or bleaching them and removing elements from them and adding others to them, Savchenko gives them new meaning. Often only the outlines of a person and his/her relations to others and the surroundings remain. Glances and gestures become mysterious codes. The viewer is carried back to the moment at which the photograph was made, as if listening to an old gramophone record on which each cough in the auditorium can be heard. In the Western world Savchenko's work is related to the destruction of the individual by the Soviet regime. In extreme cases Soviet citizens burned their family albums on their own initiative. With images from the series FACELESS and MYSTERIA Savchenko pauses to honour the fact that personal memories do not yield themselves to collectivisation.

  • FACELESS and MYSTERIA (Belarus, 1989-1992)

  • FACELESS and MYSTERIA (Belarus, 1989-1992)

  • FACELESS and MYSTERIA (Belarus, 1989-1992)

  • FACELESS and MYSTERIA (Belarus, 1989-1992)

Erasmus Schröter

Erasmus Schröter

BUNKER AND WAFFEN (Germany, 1994-2005)

Along the coast of Europe, from Germany to the Spanish border, there are still traces of the Atlantic Wall to be found today. Presently elements of this defensive line built by the Nazis serve primarily as pissoirs for beach walkers and repositories for their discarded beer cans. Erasmus Schröter lighted a number of these half-hidden bunkers with coloured theatre spotlights, lending them a mysterious beauty, and making them the centre of interest. Later, in the forests of East Germany he stumbled on material that the Soviet Army had left behind in its hasty retreat in 1990. Abandoning tanks, barracks and aeroplanes was cheaper than dismantling them or taking them with them. Schröter handled these objects in the same manner as he had the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. In this way socialist kitsch and weapons become historic sculptures, made by underpaid Soviet soldiers.

Erasmus Schröter >>

  • BUNKER AND WAFFEN (Germany, 1994-2005)

    Along the coast of Europe, from Germany to the Spanish border, there are still traces of the Atlantic Wall to be found today. Presently elements of this defensive line built by the Nazis serve primarily as pissoirs for beach walkers and repositories for their discarded beer cans. Erasmus Schröter lighted a number of these half-hidden bunkers with coloured theatre spotlights, lending them a mysterious beauty, and making them the centre of interest. Later, in the forests of East Germany he stumbled on material that the Soviet Army had left behind in its hasty retreat in 1990. Abandoning tanks, barracks and aeroplanes was cheaper than dismantling them or taking them with them. Schröter handled these objects in the same manner as he had the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. In this way socialist kitsch and weapons become historic sculptures, made by underpaid Soviet soldiers.

  • BUNKER AND WAFFEN (Germany, 1994-2005)

  • BUNKER AND WAFFEN (Germany, 1994-2005)

  • BUNKER AND WAFFEN (Germany, 1994-2005)

  • BUNKER AND WAFFEN (Germany, 1994-2005)

Flore-Aël Surun

Flore-Aël Surun

SURVIVAL UNDER (Romania, 1998)

There are many street children in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. They live in groups of from five to ten persons, are between 9 and 22 years old, and obtain what money they can by stealing, begging, and sometimes working. They come out of orphanages, or from families with a history of alcoholism and domestic violence. To a large extent they live underground, in a system of tunnels carrying steam pipes. They shelter there, sniffing glue, listening to music from stolen radios, and dreaming of a better life. A cardboard box or a construction of wire and wooden planks serves as a bed. The light comes from candles they have stolen from local churches. Flowers stuck in a broken bottle contribute further to the illusion of a real and warm home.

Flore-Aël Surun >>

  • SURVIVAL UNDER (Romania, 1998)

    There are many street children in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. They live in groups of from five to ten persons, are between 9 and 22 years old, and obtain what money they can by stealing, begging, and sometimes working. They come out of orphanages, or from families with a history of alcoholism and domestic violence. To a large extent they live underground, in a system of tunnels carrying steam pipes. They shelter there, sniffing glue, listening to music from stolen radios, and dreaming of a better life. A cardboard box or a construction of wire and wooden planks serves as a bed. The light comes from candles they have stolen from local churches. Flowers stuck in a broken bottle contribute further to the illusion of a real and warm home.

  • SURVIVAL UNDER (Romania, 1998)

  • SURVIVAL UNDER (Romania, 1998)

  • SURVIVAL UNDER (Romania, 1998)

  • SURVIVAL UNDER (Romania, 1998)

Andrew Testa

Andrew Testa

KOSOVO AFTERMATH (Kosovo, 2006-2007)

Since the Yugoslavian civil war, the situation between ethnic Albanians and the Serbian minority in Kosovo has been tense. There are still countless traces of the outbursts of violence there, from deserted Serbian villages shattered by gunfire to the mass graves of executed Albanian Muslims. Kosovo declared its independence in February, 2008; Serbia still regards the region as one of its provinces. An international military presence keeps the two groups apart. Andrew Testa photographed contemporary Kosovo, the status of which is still unclear. He saw how public swimming pools are accessible only to a particular ethnic group, and how in the streets the photographs displayed there of the 2500 Kosovars who are still missing are bleaching from the weather.

Andrew Testa >>

  • KOSOVO AFTERMATH (Kosovo, 2006-2007)

    Since the Yugoslavian civil war, the situation between ethnic Albanians and the Serbian minority in Kosovo has been tense. There are still countless traces of the outbursts of violence there, from deserted Serbian villages shattered by gunfire to the mass graves of executed Albanian Muslims. Kosovo declared its independence in February, 2008; Serbia still regards the region as one of its provinces. An international military presence keeps the two groups apart. Andrew Testa photographed contemporary Kosovo, the status of which is still unclear. He saw how public swimming pools are accessible only to a particular ethnic group, and how in the streets the photographs displayed there of the 2500 Kosovars who are still missing are bleaching from the weather.

  • KOSOVO AFTERMATH (Kosovo, 2006-2007)

  • KOSOVO AFTERMATH (Kosovo, 2006-2007)

  • KOSOVO AFTERMATH (Kosovo, 2006-2007)

  • KOSOVO AFTERMATH (Kosovo, 2006-2007)

Karel Tuma

Karel Tuma

YOUNG ALTERNATIVE – AFTER 8 YEARS OF FREEDOM (Czechoslovakia, 1997)

Karel Tůma observes that a decade after the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, there are few results to be seen from the plans for a new, just society. After several euphoric years self-interest, materialism and intolerance dominate the picture. The desire to become a member of the EU overshadows questions like social equality, preserving national culture and concern for the environment. Only leftist youth seem to still get worked up about the consequences of globalisation and the continually growing gap between the rich and poor. They are the ones who will have to get politicians and society to change course on these issues, Tůma suggests. In the streets of Prague he documents their struggle, which is accompanied by numerous clashes with the police.

Karel Tuma >>

  • YOUNG ALTERNATIVE – AFTER 8 YEARS OF FREEDOM (Czechoslovakia, 1997)

    Karel Tůma observes that a decade after the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, there are few results to be seen from the plans for a new, just society. After several euphoric years self-interest, materialism and intolerance dominate the picture. The desire to become a member of the EU overshadows questions like social equality, preserving national culture and concern for the environment. Only leftist youth seem to still get worked up about the consequences of globalisation and the continually growing gap between the rich and poor. They are the ones who will have to get politicians and society to change course on these issues, Tůma suggests. In the streets of Prague he documents their struggle, which is accompanied by numerous clashes with the police.

  • YOUNG ALTERNATIVE – AFTER 8 YEARS OF FREEDOM (Czechoslovakia, 1997)

  • YOUNG ALTERNATIVE – AFTER 8 YEARS OF FREEDOM (Czechoslovakia, 1997)

  • YOUNG ALTERNATIVE – AFTER 8 YEARS OF FREEDOM (Czechoslovakia, 1997)

  • YOUNG ALTERNATIVE – AFTER 8 YEARS OF FREEDOM (Czechoslovakia, 1997)

Yordan Yordanov

Yordan Yordanov

BULGARIAN PRISONS (Bulgaria, 1994)

After the fall of communism Yordan Yordanov was the first to be given permission to photograph life in Bulgarian prisons. He began in the central prison in Sofia, the capital, where he encountered degrading conditions. After that he visited Belene, which had functioned as a concentration camp under communism. Complexes in Razdelena, Bobov Dol and Kremkovtzi followed. Yordanov also photographed the women's prison in Silven, where he was surprised at the responsiveness of the women confined there. 'Closed environments for open souls,' Yordanov called the Bulgarian prisons: places where only ostensibly nothing happens.

Yordan Yordanov >>

  • BULGARIAN PRISONS (Bulgaria, 1994)

    After the fall of communism Yordan Yordanov was the first to be given permission to photograph life in Bulgarian prisons. He began in the central prison in Sofia, the capital, where he encountered degrading conditions. After that he visited Belene, which had functioned as a concentration camp under communism. Complexes in Razdelena, Bobov Dol and Kremkovtzi followed. Yordanov also photographed the women's prison in Silven, where he was surprised at the responsiveness of the women confined there. 'Closed environments for open souls,' Yordanov called the Bulgarian prisons: places where only ostensibly nothing happens.

  • BULGARIAN PRISONS (Bulgaria, 1994)

  • BULGARIAN PRISONS (Bulgaria, 1994)

  • BULGARIAN PRISONS (Bulgaria, 1994)

  • BULGARIAN PRISONS (Bulgaria, 1994)

Irwin

Irwin

NSK GUARDS (Slovenia, 1998-2008)

Since 1997 the Slovenian art group Irwin has been photographing real soldiers before the flag of the imaginary NSK state. Soldiers from Albania were first, followed by others from Croatia, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. Today the counter stands at twelve different armies. NSK stands for Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Art), an alliance that began to attract followers in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. In addition to Irwin the music group Laibach, the theatre group Sester Scipion Nasice and the designers' collective New Collectivism were part of NSK. The German name was deliberately chosen (as was Laibach, the name the Nazis gave to Ljubljana) in order to emphasise the traditional influence of Germany on Slovenian art, culture and history. This influence was precisely what the communist regime in Yugoslavia denied. Like the Balkan states during the civil war in Yugoslavia, NSK is a virtual state, but one with its own passports, a flag, insignia, consultants, and an embassy. The NSK symbol is derived from the swastika and the black cross of the Russian artist Malevich.

Irwin >>

  • NSK GUARDS (Slovenia, 1998-2008)

    Since 1997 the Slovenian art group Irwin has been photographing real soldiers before the flag of the imaginary NSK state. Soldiers from Albania were first, followed by others from Croatia, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. Today the counter stands at twelve different armies. NSK stands for Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Art), an alliance that began to attract followers in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. In addition to Irwin the music group Laibach, the theatre group Sester Scipion Nasice and the designers' collective New Collectivism were part of NSK. The German name was deliberately chosen (as was Laibach, the name the Nazis gave to Ljubljana) in order to emphasise the traditional influence of Germany on Slovenian art, culture and history. This influence was precisely what the communist regime in Yugoslavia denied. Like the Balkan states during the civil war in Yugoslavia, NSK is a virtual state, but one with its own passports, a flag, insignia, consultants, and an embassy. The NSK symbol is derived from the swastika and the black cross of the Russian artist Malevich.

  • NSK GUARDS (Slovenia, 1998-2008)

  • NSK GUARDS (Slovenia, 1998-2008)

  • NSK GUARDS (Slovenia, 1998-2008)

  • NSK GUARDS (Slovenia, 1998-2008)

Przemyslaw Pokrycki

Przemyslaw Pokrycki

RITES OF PASSAGE (Poland, 2007)

A rite of passage marks a change, the beginning of a new chapter in life. The person who undergoes the rite receives a new identity; the ritual often remains the same for centuries. Przemysław Pokrycki photographed contemporary Roman Catholic rituals in Poland. He identified himself as a guest and a photographer, so the role he played was clear for everyone. There was a lot of posing, and the families themselves determined what they wanted seen in the photographs, and what not. Ninety percent of Poles are Catholic. The population therefore attaches considerable importance to rituals such as baptism, making first communion, marriages and funerals. Sometimes, says Pokrycki, it appears that they are a substitute for the now vanished socialist rituals.

Przemyslaw Pokrycki >>

  • RITES OF PASSAGE (Poland, 2007)

    A rite of passage marks a change, the beginning of a new chapter in life. The person who undergoes the rite receives a new identity; the ritual often remains the same for centuries. Przemysław Pokrycki photographed contemporary Roman Catholic rituals in Poland. He identified himself as a guest and a photographer, so the role he played was clear for everyone. There was a lot of posing, and the families themselves determined what they wanted seen in the photographs, and what not. Ninety percent of Poles are Catholic. The population therefore attaches considerable importance to rituals such as baptism, making first communion, marriages and funerals. Sometimes, says Pokrycki, it appears that they are a substitute for the now vanished socialist rituals.

  • RITES OF PASSAGE (Poland, 2007)

  • RITES OF PASSAGE (Poland, 2007)

  • RITES OF PASSAGE (Poland, 2007)

  • RITES OF PASSAGE (Poland, 2007)

Transition

Svetlana Bahchevanova

Svetlana Bahchevanova

UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1989)

December 10, 1989. Sofia, Bulgaria. The first public action of the newly formed Bulgarian anti-communist political opposition, in front of the Alexander Nevskiî church. They wanted changes within the ruling Communist Party.

Svetlana Bahchevanova >>

  • UNTITLED (Bulgaria, 1989)

    December 10, 1989. Sofia, Bulgaria. The first public action of the newly formed Bulgarian anti-communist political opposition, in front of the Alexander Nevskiî church. They wanted changes within the ruling Communist Party.

Besim Fusha

Besim Fusha

NEWBORN DEMOCRACY (Albania, 1991)

In 1991 rioting broke out in Albania. Things had gotten too much for the population. For decades the citizens had been oppressed, first by the dictator Enver Hoxha, who had died in 1985, then by his successor Ramiz Alia. On February 21, 1991, a large mob of demonstrators pulled down a statue of Hoxha in Tirana. The photographer Besim Fusha was there, having gone to photograph the demonstration on his own initiative, whatever might come out of it. With his camera, the riot police took him for a subversive; the demonstrators thought he was probably a photographer for the secret police. Yet he succeeded in recording the historic events. Fusha was the only photographer present that day.

Besim Fusha >>

  • NEWBORN DEMOCRACY (Albania, 1991)

    In 1991 rioting broke out in Albania. Things had gotten too much for the population. For decades the citizens had been oppressed, first by the dictator Enver Hoxha, who had died in 1985, then by his successor Ramiz Alia. On February 21, 1991, a large mob of demonstrators pulled down a statue of Hoxha in Tirana. The photographer Besim Fusha was there, having gone to photograph the demonstration on his own initiative, whatever might come out of it. With his camera, the riot police took him for a subversive; the demonstrators thought he was probably a photographer for the secret police. Yet he succeeded in recording the historic events. Fusha was the only photographer present that day.

Istvan Halas

Istvan Halas

16th OF JUNE, 1989, 7:30 A.M. (Hungary, 1989)

The Hungarian Revolution broke out in 1956. The Hungarians wished to see the back of the Stalinist regime in their country and wanted the reformist Imre Nagy as their new prime minister. That became the rationale for the Russian invasion of their country. Imre Nagy was executed and the invaders installed Janos Kadar, a puppet of Moscow, as the new leader. When in the second half of the 1980s the Russian leader Gorbachov eased his grip on the East Bloc, Hungary was the first to sack Kadar and finally – ever so cautiously – move toward reforms. In the summer of 1989, on June 16, to be exact, Imre Nagy, together with five other heroes of the Revolution received an official reinterment on Heroes' Square, in Budapest. More than 100,000 people attended the ceremonies in the square. Several million more followed the reinterment on television.

Istvan Halas >>

  • 16th OF JUNE, 1989, 7:30 A.M. (Hungary, 1989)

    The Hungarian Revolution broke out in 1956. The Hungarians wished to see the back of the Stalinist regime in their country and wanted the reformist Imre Nagy as their new prime minister. That became the rationale for the Russian invasion of their country. Imre Nagy was executed and the invaders installed Janos Kadar, a puppet of Moscow, as the new leader. When in the second half of the 1980s the Russian leader Gorbachov eased his grip on the East Bloc, Hungary was the first to sack Kadar and finally – ever so cautiously – move toward reforms. In the summer of 1989, on June 16, to be exact, Imre Nagy, together with five other heroes of the Revolution received an official reinterment on Heroes' Square, in Budapest. More than 100,000 people attended the ceremonies in the square. Several million more followed the reinterment on television.

Claudio Hils

Claudio Hils

UNTITLED (West Germany, 1989)

November, 1989. Media at Brandenburger Tor, Berlin.

Claudio Hils >>

  • UNTITLED (West Germany, 1989)

    November, 1989. Media at Brandenburger Tor, Berlin.

Janis Knakis

Janis Knakis

UNTITLED (Latvia, 1991)

January, 1991. Latvians on the streets to safeguard the new government and set fires near the Lenin monument, the Soviet symbol.

Janis Knakis >>

  • UNTITLED (Latvia, 1991)

    January, 1991. Latvians on the streets to safeguard the new government and set fires near the Lenin monument, the Soviet symbol.

Witold Krassowski

Witold Krassowski

UNTITLED (Poland, 1990)

January 29, 1990. Heavy militia presence at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, during the last session of the XIth Meeting of the Polish Communist Party (PZPR), which saw the dissolution of the party.

Witold Krassowski >>

  • UNTITLED (Poland, 1990)

    January 29, 1990. Heavy militia presence at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, during the last session of the XIth Meeting of the Polish Communist Party (PZPR), which saw the dissolution of the party.

Andrei Pandele

Andrei Pandele

UNTITLED (Romania, 1989)

In December, 1989, the Romanians in Bucharest demonstrated against the regime of their leader Ceaucescu. On the day that it was learned that he had fled more than a million people came out on the largest square in Bucharest, the Piata Revolutiei. Three days later, on December 25, 1989, Ceaucescu and his wife Elena were executed on a military base by rebellious soldiers.

Andrei Pandele >>

  • UNTITLED (Romania, 1989)

    In December, 1989, the Romanians in Bucharest demonstrated against the regime of their leader Ceaucescu. On the day that it was learned that he had fled more than a million people came out on the largest square in Bucharest, the Piata Revolutiei. Three days later, on December 25, 1989, Ceaucescu and his wife Elena were executed on a military base by rebellious soldiers.

Uladzimir Parfianok

Uladzimir Parfianok

UNTITLED (Belarus, 1989)

April 26, 1989. Demonstration in memory of victims of Chernobyl, Minsk. This demonstration was organised by the Belarussian Popular Front (an opposition party) and Belarussian intelligentsia. As a result of the disaster at the nuclear reactor Chernobyl, in The Ukraine, one third of the territory of Belarus was contaminated with radiation. The Belarussian government however concealed information about this danger, which made the demonstration an act of political resistance. After Belarus became independent in 1991, the Belarussian Popular Front assumed a role in the government.

Uladzimir Parfianok >>

  • UNTITLED (Belarus, 1989)

    April 26, 1989. Demonstration in memory of victims of Chernobyl, Minsk. This demonstration was organised by the Belarussian Popular Front (an opposition party) and Belarussian intelligentsia. As a result of the disaster at the nuclear reactor Chernobyl, in The Ukraine, one third of the territory of Belarus was contaminated with radiation. The Belarussian government however concealed information about this danger, which made the demonstration an act of political resistance. After Belarus became independent in 1991, the Belarussian Popular Front assumed a role in the government.

Yevgeniy Pavlov

Yevgeniy Pavlov

JUMP BEYOND RED (The Ukraine, 1989)

Stimulated by Gorbachov's politics of reform and by disgust about the disaster at the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, a nationalist movement formed in The Ukraine in 1988. This development however also led to pro-communist counter demonstrations - as the red flags testify. With the montage of the diving man over a demonstration that took place in November 1989, Pavlov suggests that many people, on the contrary, wanted to make the jump to the West.

Yevgeniy Pavlov >>

  • JUMP BEYOND RED (The Ukraine, 1989)

    Stimulated by Gorbachov's politics of reform and by disgust about the disaster at the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, a nationalist movement formed in The Ukraine in 1988. This development however also led to pro-communist counter demonstrations - as the red flags testify. With the montage of the diving man over a demonstration that took place in November 1989, Pavlov suggests that many people, on the contrary, wanted to make the jump to the West.

Pavel Stecha

Pavel Stecha

20 NOVEMBER 1989 (Czechoslovakia, 1989)

In November, 1989, massive demonstrations against the communist regime took place in Prague. On 20 November, 1989, about 150,000 people gathered on Prague's Wenceslaus Square. In other cities around the country too many thousands of people took to the streets. Pavel átecha photographed the faces of the demonstrators at the Prague manifestation, tense but full of hope for a better future.

Pavel Stecha >>

  • 20 NOVEMBER 1989 (Czechoslovakia, 1989)

    In November, 1989, massive demonstrations against the communist regime took place in Prague. On 20 November, 1989, about 150,000 people gathered on Prague's Wenceslaus Square. In other cities around the country too many thousands of people took to the streets. Pavel átecha photographed the faces of the demonstrators at the Prague manifestation, tense but full of hope for a better future.

Antanas Sutkus

Antanas Sutkus

UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1991)

On September 23, 1991, thousands of Lithuanians demonstrated at the KGB headquarters in Vilnius against Soviet domination of their country. On a nearby square a crane wrenched a statue of Lenin from its pedestal. An ironic detail: Lenin's boots were so strongly anchored to the pedestal that they remained behind.

Antanas Sutkus >>

  • UNTITLED (Lithuania, 1991)

    On September 23, 1991, thousands of Lithuanians demonstrated at the KGB headquarters in Vilnius against Soviet domination of their country. On a nearby square a crane wrenched a statue of Lenin from its pedestal. An ironic detail: Lenin's boots were so strongly anchored to the pedestal that they remained behind.

Tiit Veermäe

Tiit Veermäe

THE BALTIC CHAIN (Estonia, 1989)

Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty that also arranged for the annexation of Poland, Finland and the Baltic states. As a result of this, in 1944 the Soviet Union definitively added Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to its territory. On August 23, 1989, precisely fifty years after the signing of the 'Devils' Pact', residents of the three Baltic states formed a human chain six hundred kilometres long to commemorate the pact and protest against Soviet domination. This event has gone down in history as the Baltic Way, and formed the overture to the proclamation of independence in Lithuania. A year later Estonia and Latvia followed.

Tiit Veermäe >>

  • THE BALTIC CHAIN (Estonia, 1989)

    Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty that also arranged for the annexation of Poland, Finland and the Baltic states. As a result of this, in 1944 the Soviet Union definitively added Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to its territory. On August 23, 1989, precisely fifty years after the signing of the 'Devils' Pact', residents of the three Baltic states formed a human chain six hundred kilometres long to commemorate the pact and protest against Soviet domination. This event has gone down in history as the Baltic Way, and formed the overture to the proclamation of independence in Lithuania. A year later Estonia and Latvia followed.

Heimatgedanken

Herbert John

Herbert John

Herbert John >>

Andreas Pein

Andreas Pein

Andreas Pein >>

Anoniem/Anonymous

Anoniem/Anonymous

Anoniem/Anonymous >>