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Images from a distant country.

Zoltán Jókay
21.10 – 16.11.2009

A scholarship by the Goethe-Institut
made it possible for me to live for a month in La Paz, Bolivia.

It was quite plain to me that I would use the time to take pictures.

What else should I have done there?

I was skeptical confronted with this task,
given the shortness of time,
given my ignorance of the Bolivian culture and my lack of Spanish.

Under these circumstances I absolutely didn’t want to take portraits
that feign any kind of intimacy.

I didn’t want romantic images from the indigenous population,
no traditional costumes, no dances,
no beautiful faces of children, not to forget their eyes so dark,
no melancholic glances of humans governed by poverty.

None of this photographic folklore,
that makes us Western Europeans travel to Eastern Europe,
or leads us,
again and again, to the settlements of the Sinti and Roma.

I was a stranger in an alien country.
Hardly anything to bridge the gap.

I wanted this to be echoed by the form of my images.

The next weeks,
day after day,
image after image from a distant country that I have visited.