/ Anastasia Shpilko / Photo story

Between the Black and White Clouds

What images come to mind when you hear democracy, or tyranny? Would they not be polar opposites? What does it take to leave the former and step onto the territory of the latter? Between the Black and White Clouds is built from the photographs shot in two frontier towns lying on either side of the Lithuanian-Belarusian border: Visaginas and Lida. Lithuania as a member of the European Union and Belarus as a dictatorship-ruled country are now situated on opposing ends of the scale measuring nature of political regimes in Europe. However, their national histories had been crossing paths since the Middle Ages, with their Soviet legacy showing the most today. Offering an equal number of pictures on either part and featuring no captions, the project works as a puzzle, inviting to guess what state is shown in each photograph. Thereby it explores the traces which the common past has left on urban infrastructure and mentality of the two countries and at the same time questions the ability of photography to represent the political.

Anastasia Shpilko (1989) is a Belarusian-born photographer, who has studied journalism at the Moscow State university and photojournalism at the University of Westminster in London. Her work has been published in various newspapers and magazines, such as Ogonok, Vedomosti, The Sunday Times.