True colours: this man travelled across the old Eastern Bloc to see the impact of capitalism
German photographer Hieronymus Ahrens's witty visual style takes its lead from street photographers like Martin Parr, only Ahrens is as much drawn to the idiosyncrasies of contemporary cityscapes as the lives of their residents. Last summer he made a trip from Helsinki to Berlin, where he is currently based, with his Contax G2 rangefinder — stopping at Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius and Warsaw along the way. Having completed a degree in Slavonic studies and visited Russia and Ukraine in the past, the photographer has a particular interest in the transformation of former Eastern Bloc countries, and the often absurd traces this process has left across its urban spaces. “These countries have more or less been involved in a quick process of transformation,” Ahrens says. “Today, you can see leftovers from the imperial periods of the past, the Soviet period and its demise, the chaos of the Nineties and the recent influences of the EU or the quick invading capitalism of the western world, which finds special expression in all the big new flashy shopping malls, ” he describes. In Baltics Beyond, Ahrens captures the effects of these drastic changes in a playful way, without ever losing the colour and warmth at the heart of these countries.