Introduction by Andreas Weber

Estonia personifies more than any of the other new European Community members the dynamic, its inheritance from old European traditions, arduous Soviet influence, fresh creativity, and anticipated future. Followed from these, Estonia is a nation with breaks and chances - a country of non-simultaneity and melancholic vitality.

This collision cast a spell over the photographer Christoph Otto - even to such an extent that he traveled several times through Estonia even spending two weeks in a decrepit bus of a touring cinema enterprise. What he documented is a region representing simultaneously all parts of the world and its possibilities. And what he brought back are impressive pictures demonstrating that life is taking place here, just here in this little country situated in the northern periphery of Europe.

In Estonia life is reborn every day, a life in pain and in daze - in a feeling of elation of the little rich boys and girls under the never ending day of their Nordic lightsummer but also in the mood of resignation of the lonesome tired women in front of their lodgings, houses filigree as if made of paper, almost falling apart, nearly completely submerged in the depth of Russia, enwrapped by their wood fire and the permanent fresh breath of the never ending forests reaching the horizon. Life is extending to an infinity of nothingness in the soap bubbles Elizabeth is blowing in front of the dreaming eyes of her boyfriend Märten: the success just before changing into failure - in the gleaming balance of a moment.

Christoph Otto has the instinct great photographers do possess, that is to release the shutter in the very moment when the magic crack happens when vitality bursts open in a second of uncertainty and non-protection before returning again to a steady direction. His photos reveal scenes like tiny films in shortened form. Each photo is the turning point of a never tearing bow, the tightened changing point of our solar plexus in the way the girl reaches it by swinging in the climax of the summer, at the highest point of her childhood, the sandals already on the feet of a woman.
Christoph Otto
The Estonians

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