This work was inspired by an interest in my German grandfather's family which originated from Stettin, now the Polish city of Szczecin. It changed hands at the end of the Second World War and is the largest town on what became know as the Oder-Neisse line. This was the name given by the Allies to the post war Polish-German border which is formed by the Oder river in the north and the Neisse to the south.
Initially a series of wanderings the work became influenced by the writing of Joseph Conrad and in particular his 1899 novel, "Heart of Darkness", which relates the story of a journey up the river Congo and deals with themes of imperialism, occupation and appropriation. Conrad was an ethnic Pole who was born at a time when Poland did not even exist on the map of Europe. He emigrated to England and worked for several years as a merchant sailor before writing one of the most celebrated works of literature in the English language.
I initially made the connection through visual similarities with scenes from Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film "Apocalypse Now" which was based on Conrad's novel. I found both Conrad's personal history and the themes of his writing unexpectedly relevant to the region I was photographing. This became a key influence on my work.
"Oder-Neisse" was first published as a book in 2016 and exhibited at the Galerie im Tempelhof Museum, Berlin, in 2018.