"Visual Narratives: European Borderlines" brought together 12 young photographic artists from four countries in the 'corners' of Europe - Latvia, Turkey, Iceland, Portugal - implementing a one-year project on the common subject of 'borderlines.' Each of the twelve photographers worked in their home country and one of the other participating countries. The participants - 3 from each country - were chosen in an open call from over 100 applications in spring 2011. The selection was based on the idea of creating a diverse dynamic in terms of age, experience and photographic practice.
The subject, 'European Borderlines,' was left open to the individual interpretation of the participants - from the geographical border of place as seen in Tiago’s, Catarina’s and Andrejs’ work; to the diarist approach of André and Hallgerður; from the typography of Reinis, the conceptual works on identity of Valdis and Sevim, to the personal and psychological borders in the work of Batur and Ilze; Can’s oblique research into the notion of home, and finally, Heiða’s expressions of happiness. Taken together, they have managed to explore a whole range of complex and layered notions of borders around identity, memory, myth, nature, urbanization, territory, the conscious and subconscious.
The twelve participants were mentored throughout the year by two experienced photographers, Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou – and supported by a partnership of four active photography organisations in each of the countries: ISSP (Latvia), GAPO (Turkey), Maioclaro (Portugal) and FISL (Iceland). The project started with an introductory workshop in Latvia in August 2011 and was completed at a joint editing workshop in Turkey in July 2012, with regular e-mail correspondence and Skype critiques with the project mentors in between.
The final work represents a coming together, through the separate and shared experiences of 12 photographers from the four countries, who have crossed borders, both physical and cultural, to create a collection of visual narratives from the countries and people standing on the edge of Europe. The final works discover and reveal the similarities and connections that may help to bridge the gap between the 'European Borderlines,' for the participants and the audience alike.
Above all, the project set out to promote and develop young talents in photography where photographic education is limited, with an express wish to create a critical and personal dialogue between the participants. Undoubtedly, each of them undertook unforgettable journeys, both personal and photographic.