“Maybe it’s blindness and I can’t find greenery here, always heading for some greenery behind the borders where scales fall from the eyes and a vivid picture appears. Well, can blindness be geographical?” – Natasha
“Neither is an exploration into the hearts of young women in Kaliningrad, Russia. The first generation to have grown up after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they look to define their identity in this small ‘island’ within Europe. Wedged between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is severed from Russia, leaving it in the fragile position of being an exclave of Russia and an enclave of the EU. This fragility is countered by the strong, independent women that have guided me through the stories of this region and the lives of the individual, telling me of their dreams and fears.
This self-published photobook, interweaves my images with the words of women of Kaliningrad. Neither opens with a booklet of diary entries from the women I spent time with, a diverse collection of stories of love, expectations, fears, and thoughts on their own identity. It then closes with a booklet of eyewitness accounts of women as they first arrived from ‘Big Russia’ in 1945. In between these two booklets are my images of the women and their region, accompanied by a handwritten account of a woman’s life in contemporary Kaliningrad.
By combining these various elements we have built a story, full of contradictions, of the tenuous relationships between political borders and cultural identity. At its core, Neither examines the links between place, history and identity through the eyes of individual women.” – Kate Nolan
The photobook won the Alliance Française Photography Award 2013, Magnum Graduate Award 2015, nominated for Foto Book Festival Kassel’s Best Photobook of 2014 and has been exhibited internationally.
Artist: Kate Nolan
Year of publication: 2014
Kate Nolan is an Irish visual artist focused on extended photographic stories that examine the nature of identity. Her practice involves working collaboratively with communities over time and exploring their circumstances through images and text, illustrating the everyday lives of these communities. Her main interests lie in translating this material to visual narratives in a form of photobooks. She is drawn to in-between locations and intrigued by their shifting histories and effects this has upon the identity of the individual. By combining these various elements she attempts to build a story, full of contradictions, of the tenuous relationships between political borders and cultural identity.
All Rights Reserved. Text and Images © Kate Nolan