The portrait series REIF consists of images of children and youth who have grown up in children’s homes in Brandenburg. These children live there because the situations they come from would have been further harmful to them.
I photographed youth between the ages of nine and fifteen. Much that begins to show its signs later is decided for young people between these ages, and a person’s basic characteristics and features seldom really change.
My fundamental interest in the appearance of the children was the calm but not withdrawn look in eyes that confront the viewer with varying intensity. I was interested less in the questioning and more in the knowing look in their eyes, the hardened look that comes from too much experience and too much pain at an early age. I wanted to explore the atmosphere more than the moment. I do not want to encounter the children on a social documentary level, and do not want to overwhelm them with concepts. These portraits should first be understood as a picture. As an image that represents itself and that shows a type of landscape of interpretation through the individuality of the depicted child. That is the children depicted in the photograph are not there as Ronny, Marina and Tobias; the pictures are numbered and otherwise untitled. Each rather a medium or transporter of how I understand a portrait. These portraits can then lead to the general questions of what is childhood, what does the loss of identity and home mean, wherein lies the origins of a placelessness and uprooting that not only affects these children, but that appear as the result of a general social transformation.