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My story is banal. My mother’s parents as well as her 13-year-old little sister were deported. The death convoys came back empty, but their vibrations have never stopped, such as eternal replies of the unspeakable. When I was young, my mother, crying, often told me about them.

The situation between my parents quickly got worse. Quarrels succeeded quarrels. Calm and lonely little child that I was excelled very quickly in geography, as if the theoretical and absolutely relative knowledge of the world would help me forget the bursts of voice of two people unable to communicate, but who were the most important persons for me in the world.

I became a photographer and travelled across the world. I looked for what I would be able to tell without understanding the real issue of this endless non-stop race without breathing whose only counter was the number of planes, films, countries visited. The escape accelerated, a bit like a snowball turning into an avalanche and leaving nothing but death and turmoil on its way. I had dreamed of something else.

One day, I found this on a road in Eastern Europe. Men whispered among themselves in a language foreign to the majority of those around them. It brutally sent me back to the past, to my past in a French provincial town where the survivors made normal their lives of eternal fugitives by mixing discretion with the sound of the honor found in the host country dreamed by their parents who were offered as a sign of vassalage to the executioners who were going to murder them. The East attracted me because my roots had once grown there, but the transplantation should not be fleeting. We must never give reason to those who don’t accept difference.

I started this journey to the Eastern countries as a journalistic research. I finished it in identity research. I came from what was once the largest minority in Europe. I was finally going to be able to give meaning to my work. Photography, travel and my quest came together. To find out who I was, I first had to find where I came from. My photographic approach and my personal history met that day. –

Alain Keler

photographs by Alain KELER

From 31/08/2019 to 15/09/2019
VISA POUR L'IMAGE - Couvent des Minimes
24, rue Rabelais

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