JENS OLOF LASTHEIN
MEANWHILE ACROSS THE MOUNTAIN
11.05. bis 02.06. 2018
The mountain range of Caucasus is a borderland where Europe meets Asia and Christianity meets Islam, a myriad nationalities, languages and cultures live side by side. Well-known in the Soviet time as the land of wine and pomegranates, clean mountain air and sunny beaches, the Caucasian republics of today are often separated by barbed wire and suspicion as the result of decades of wars and unresolved conflicts. On top of that several despotic leaders spread fear and terror among their citizens. It all creates a region of tensions. On my way through the Caucasus, photographing people living in this harsh political reality, I nevertheless discovered that human emotional ties often contradict the official statement about the neighbor across the mountain.
I have met people in daily, rather undramatic settings and photographed them and whatever evolves between us while we spend time together. I have used my panoramic camera as it gives me the possibility of being in the middle of a situation and still get a wide angle view of the scene. I often compose my pictures of multiple interacting actions. I try to fill my pictures with life. I want them to be credible and even suggest other realities than those concretely depicted. I try to be unpredictable as well as being emotionally consistent.
I am aware of my position as an outsider, I grew up somewhere else and my Russian is limited, there is much I don’t understand. Still I’m European and I have travelled a lot in the former Soviet Union over the years. In a peculiar way I feel at home, so I insist on a personal translation of what I see and encounter.