Reiner Riedler

It's amazing how quickly photographs can become historical documents. My book was published in 2003, but the borders are different today due to Russian aggression. Crimea was still part of Ukraine at that time before it was annexed by Russia in 2014, as were the eastern regions.

"Photographer Reiner Riedler visited and got to know Ukraine on eight trips over a period of four years. Partly out of his own interest and often on behalf of humanitarian aid organisations whose work he documented, he has gained an insight into the culture of life in this country that goes far beyond that of a visitor. Images of people in the "country on the edge", which appears very open and friendly despite the economic struggle for survival and problems such as unemployment, alcoholism, drugs and Aids. "With clear, direct and sometimes personal images, Reiner Riedler builds a bridge between these seemingly contradictory statements. Although the problems are visibly documented in his photographs, the human being, who neither bows nor resigns himself, is always perceptible." (Nikon Flash)
The route leads from the Carpathians to the Crimea, the "Pearl of the Black Sea", famous for the mild climate of its holiday resorts and as a base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It is a book like a "road movie" - striking colour shots in the twilight of the country road, haunting studies of milieus in simple farmhouses and claustrophobic-looking mines, touching pictures of infant wards and old people's homes. Colour photography that opens up new dimensions for reportage." 

Press text Edition Fotohof im Otto Müller Verlag


Photographer Gerd Ludwig about my work on Ukraine:

Documentary photography has an obligation to the people portrayed to tell their story in pictures with empathy, conviction and as truthfully as the medium of photography allows. But it is also the photographer's duty to bring himself into the picture and make his own point of view visible. What a photographer decides to show is just as important for the result as what he deliberately leaves out. Even if photographers see their equipment as technical instruments for capturing reality, they must recognise that this reality is always only a subjectively perceived reality, one of an infinite number of possible realities. Moving photos tell just as much about the world of the person portrayed as they do about the person behind the camera.

Reiner Riedler's photographs are calm and gentle. Their stillness is transmitted to us, making us pause and inviting us to linger in the pictures. Almost silently, they lead us through a country without material prosperity or luxury. They captivate us with their sympathy for the lives of its people. We feel their closeness because the photographer is close to them. He respects them and appreciates their dignity; he rarely passes judgement, never condemns. His gaze casually skims over the external, often unfortunate circumstances of their lives. In his search for truthfulness, he discovers deep meaning in fleeting moments and saves them from transience for us. It is wonderful to see the world of Ukraine through Reiner Riedler's eyes.

View Gerd Ludwigs Webpage