2015 Emerging Photography Contender: Julia Autz

For Transnistria, German photographer Julia Autz gives voice the young people living in a Moldovan territory that continues to seek entry into Russia, tracing the uncertain future of a precarious and unrecognized nation. 

Writes Autz in her Artist Statement, “Officially, Transnistria is a part of Moldova. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, the region declared independence from Moldova. Since the civil war in 1992 the central government has lost control over the area - a de-facto-regime was established, including an own currency, border controls, a parliament, a national anthem and citizenship. But the self-proclaimed state is not recognized by anybody. There is a huge Russian impact on political, economical and public life. Without aid from Russia, the country wouldn't be able to survive. 

“In March 2014, in the course of the Ukraine crisis and the annexation of Crimea the Transnistrian government asked to become a part of Russia. The parallels to the Ukraine are obvious. How is life in such an illusory country? While staying there I got to know a lot of people who introduced me to their everyday lives - in a state without a nation, without a history, without a sorted present and a foreseeable future. On the one hand, my pictures display places and people that do not seem to have changed for centuries. Especially the elderly reminisce wistfully about Soviet times, when they were part of a world power. But on the other hand, you also see melancholy and sadness in people's faces. Especially the younger generation dreams of a more colorful world - of a life which allows what represents youth: rebellion, perspectives and finding yourself.”

All images © Julia Autz

Each week, Feature Shoot editors showcase the work of one photographer who has applied to the Emerging Photography Awards in order to highlight the diverse array of applications we receive. This is not an endorsement of the photographer for the award.

Apply to the Feature Shoot 2015 Emerging Photography Awards here. It pays to apply early, as we will be featuring some of our favorite submissions right here and over our social media channels.