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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

18.09.2014

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“At the end of January 2011, I returned from a trip to Transnistria and began scanning through my negatives. In one of the photos, taken at the train station in Bender on the border to Moldova, I suddenly discovered a woman I hadn't noticed while taking the picture.

Officially speaking, Transnistria doesn't exist. Unrecognised by any other country, the inhabitants continue undeterred fighting to break away from Moldova. 500 000 people live here – with passports and a currency that has no value abroad. Transnistria is also frequently referred to as a Soviet 'Open Air Museum'. If you walk around the capital, Tiraspol, or the town of Bender, this thought certainly does come to mind. At the same time is seems too cute for me – especially when you consider what's currently happening in Transnistria's neighbourhood, specifically in East Ukraine.

Looking through further negatives, I also noticed that the composition of the photos is consistent:  vanishing point in the middle, straight lines, and that's it. Virtually no experiments. And maybe that clearly defines the things that I saw: there's a lot that's special, but simple, at least from a western perspective. It's like that virtually everywhere in the country.

A waiting room in a train station there can look like a furniture store – after all, there's enough room – and you think, 'wow, how uncomplicated!' You can keep your photos simple there.”

Jann Wilken

Born in Hamburg, Wilken studied Visual Communications in Hamburg and Zurich. After graduating he worked as a free-lance photographer, and has been published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit. Wilken lives in Hamburg.


www.jannwilken.net
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