Ramin Mazur

LEFT BANK

Republic of Moldova

LEFT BANK

What is leaving, and how is it to live among those who stay behind? I grew up in my hometown in the north of Transnistria and never knew anything about the outside world, apart from a few memories from Ukraine, where I spent a short period of my childhood. For a long time, after leaving Transnistria, I never thought about my hometown. When I started to practise photography, the first thing I wanted to document was this strip of unrecognised land, that finds its identity somewhere between the war for independence and its Soviet past. But soon enough I faced the fact that I framed my narrative in the same clichéd manner as "other" media did.

From that moment, I tried to understand what this piece of land means to me, and it brought me back to my hometown. I thought it would be a good idea to understand myself and the people living there, through memories and parallels with my relatives, who were still living there. But apparently, there was no vivid memory that could shake my feelings. So I started to go there more often and spend time with family to retrieve those memories and understand this bank of childhood that was divided from another world, as it is divided from me, on the other side. I was curious to understand why its people leave this place, even more than they leave Moldova (the most shrinking country in Europe), and what it is to be on the verge of choosing. I can't pretend to give answers, but at least to touch the feeling of the place that once allowed me to feel the air while running through the apple orchards. 


Paint spilled on the pavement grass resembles the Transnistrian flag. Ribnita, Transnistrian Region, Republic of Moldova.

Paint spilled on the pavement grass resembles the Transnistrian flag. Ribnita, Transnistrian Region, Republic of Moldova.

Katrine and Alexander rest in the room at Katrine's parents house in Ribnita. Transnistrian Region. Republic of Moldova.

Katrine and Alexander rest in the room at Katrine's parents house in Ribnita. Transnistrian Region. Republic of Moldova.

My cousin Nikita stands in his room. He was always dreamy about home and never felt he was part of this place, but now when I ask him if he stays, he smiles.

My cousin Nikita stands in his room. He was always dreamy about home and never felt he was part of this place, but now when I ask him if he stays, he smiles.

Nikita sits by the river bank after a ride on his skateboard. Ribnita, Transnistrian region, Republic of Moldova.

Nikita sits by the river bank after a ride on his skateboard. Ribnita, Transnistrian region, Republic of Moldova.

Katrine and Alexander during his day of millitary service. Ribnita, Transnistrian Region, Republic of Moldova.

Katrine and Alexander during his day of millitary service. Ribnita, Transnistrian Region, Republic of Moldova.

Girl standing in the central square of Ribnita during a prom manifestation.

Girl standing in the central square of Ribnita during a prom manifestation.

Katrine with her mother Angela in their courtyard. Ribnita, Transnistrian Region, Republic of Moldova.

Katrine with her mother Angela in their courtyard. Ribnita, Transnistrian Region, Republic of Moldova.

A kitten in the courtyard of my aunt's house.

A kitten in the courtyard of my aunt's house.