FRANK ROTHE
WELDE ARTPRICE - PHOTOGRAPHY
RUNNING THROUGH THE WIND
17.06. - 22.07.2007

As a twelve year old boy, I was put on a list for a summer camp in the Soviet Union. Only the best of the former Pioneer Organisation in the GDR where on that list. I was quite surprised about that fact. To make it short I was deleted from the list soon. Some of my classmates went to the camp, called Artek on the island Krim, which today belongs to the Ukraine. After their vacation and return to school, all of them spoke very good Russian, because they spent their time with other Pioneers from all over the Eastern Block and their main language was Russian.

7 years later in the age of 19 I travelled around the world, started in Africa and ended up in China, it was not planed, but I had no other choice with my last money I bought a ticket on a ferry boat from Hong Kong to China and a train ticket from Beijing to Moscow. It was 1992.

I never wanted to go to Russia, because of the pressure we had at school learning the Russian language, even if we didn’t want to. But in 1992 China, I was quite happy to hold a cheap train ticket back home to Europe over Moscow. When I arrived in Moscow there was a Revolution going on, tanks where on the streets and they shoot the White House. In the evening everything was quite and the Russians demolished the statue of the KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky on Ljubjanka in the centre of Moscow. I watched it and had the feeling, that Russia could be a place to return. I went home, studied Russian language and since then went back many times.

In 2004, I planed my project “Running Through The Wind”. After all the changes in the Eastern Block, I was very interested to get to know the younger generation of the Former Soviet Union. Therefore I chose the summer camp Artek, the place from the list I had been on as a boy. I got the information that the camp still exists and that it’s as big as a small city and still today thousands of youngsters spent their summer vacation there. Today the parents got to pay for the vacation and there is no list for the good ones anymore.

I went there and found what I was looking for. The new generation of the East – I photographed them pure, with no flash, no tripod, I only used the natural light at day and night time. What I found out during my interviews on a video camcorder was that the young generation has not much changed, except they don’t talk about politics anymore, because they don’t need to. But what makes them different from the youngsters in the West is that time is not money. So everything goes a little bit slow, people talk to each other and sleep in the same rooms. For me as a photographer it was a journey through time. I travelled came back into a period of my live, which does not exist anymore at the place I live in. These generation, not West or East I call “Running Through The Wind”, because there isn’t anything for them where they can find an orientation for their future, except washing their hands before they go to eat or that they need to sleep between 2 and 4 pm. During the period I stayed with all those kids and teenagers I found some big and small pieces of my childhood. Today as an adult and somehow quite experienced photographer I captured those moments on film and produced what I was looking for a long time - my personal master piece.

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More about Frank Rothet: www.frankrothe.de

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