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#12 Andrea Diefenbach

Land ohne Eltern

Social documentary photography does not necessarily need to prove itself to magazines and newspapers before a book publication may be taken into consideration. Andre Diefenbach’s project “Land ohne Eltern” (Land without parents) was conceptualized as a photobook from the beginning.

“Land” means the small Eastern European republic Moldova. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the former wine- and fruit chamber became a poorhouse. There were barely any jobs. The unemployment rate is 80 percent. Whoever is able to leave, leaves. Many Moldovans struggle their way back to Western Europe, where they work as geriatric nurses, janitors or crop workers under miserable conditions. A large amount of people live in Italy by now, most of them illegally.

Who stays behind are the children. About 250.000 minors grow up with their grandparents under the supervision of their older siblings. They can rarely give their parents a hug. Some children do not see their mothers and fathers for years. Most of the contact revolves around Skype calls and packages with food, clothing and toys. Once a week there are transporters which transfer mail and cash between Italy and Moldova. However, these deliveries are no substitute for parents.

Over two and a half years, Andrea Diefenbach accompanied the relatives of affected families in Moldovan and Italy. Her unbiased photographs offer the viewer an emotional and human connection to a topic which is exemplary for the current state of unpheaval in Eastern Europe.