Project

In Waters: Life on the Black Sea Coast in Florian Bachmeyer’s Project

Crimean Tatars, the lifestyle of Old Believers, the tea industry in Turkey and the ecological problems of the Bulgarian coastline — themes of the long-term photo project of Florian Bachmeyer and Ramin Mazur.


Florian Bachmeyer, age 39

Independent photographer. Lives in Munich and Madrid. As a student, he studied German artistic photography and contemporary history. Shoots reports for German and French publications, and teaches photography at the Freie Kunstwerkstatt in Munich. He devotes his free time to persona and non-commercial projects.


Idea

My friend from Moldova, Ramin Mazur, and I thought about a photo project about the Black Sea. We somehow discussed the subject of various investigations in Eastern Europe and we found out that we have common views on many subjects. So we quickly formed the idea of our project. It’s still not clear to us what it will bring as a result. After all, the situation there is swiftly changing. But so far we’ve focused on several themes in various regions: Crimean Tatars, the lifestyle of Old Believers, and the tea industry in Northern Turkey and the ecological problems of the Bulgarian coastline.


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Subject of investigation

We started not long ago and we were able to visit only Ukraine and Moldova. I plan for my next trip to be to Mariupol, the city that’s on the edge of the armed conflict. I plan to visit Bulgaria in October and Georgia afterwards. Sometimes my friend and I travel together, sometimes apart. We’re interested in how people live. Therefore, our project is its own type of anthropological research of the Black Sea regions involved in this current fragment of history, which is accompanied by large changes and embittered conflicts.


The sea

The Black Sea has a rich history, from Pontos Axeinos to Pontos Euxinos [Editor’s Note — the first Greeks to travel the Black Sea first called it inhospitable (Axeinos) and then hospitable (Euxinos).] Its geographic area always divided cultures and people, and at the same time united them. The Black Sea reveals these historical distortions and the endless multitude of different views. It’s a kind of “Sea of Contradictions”. I enjoy traveling its coasts and talking to the locals. Sometimes it reminds me of a common trip. You always take something from people who allow you into their homes, and sometimes into their hearts. For me, it’s a large gift that I became a part of their lives, even for a short period.


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