From a Changed North
Work In Progress
It was a coldish, windy day in late 2010. I walked through dark forests behind my mother's house, along some lonely pathways, through the settlement, until I got to a crossroads in the village of Bochum-Langendreer. There I stood - a handful of cars rode by, the wind whistled through the trees above, an old placard advertised a circus long gone, leaves were blowing across the street. It was quiet in the village. After a while, a teenage boy came by. He stopped, half glancing at my camera. ”What are you photographing?" "Langendreer", I replied. "But why? There's nothing here".
From A Changed North documents the changing face of Germany's formerly industrial Ruhr area - my place of birth and estranged home of many years. Despite the country being one of the world’s giants of wealth, this area is writing itself a new chapter. The reality of post-industrial growth is far from glossy. Promises of shifting the area's identity from industrialism to modern technology has left people behind, and regional cities are in decline. Parts of the area, such as the city of Bochum, have long been dubbed as one of the country's 'low-income hotspots'.
Hovering hollow, there’s a ghost about town – billboards are rotting, houses empty, most Kiosks are closed and playgrounds neglected. Small business has been replaced with shabby chains of 1-Euro stores. There is no money for new cultural initiatives. It seems adventure has been replaced with making do.
Now, everything and everyone seem to be waiting for something.