Capturing Limbo: Valentin Goppel's Reflective Scenes of Isolation
On New Year's Eve in 2020, Valentin Goppel began to photograph his friends and acquaintances in an attempt to both process and represent the disorientation he felt during the time of Covid. Through taking pictures of his friends, he found a way to deal with the state of uncertainty. It wasn't difficult for him to explain to them the pictures he was looking for—they were all in the middle of the same situation and felt connected in a state of limbo.
The book's title, Zwischen den Jahren, describes the time between Christmas and New Year—the time between years. It acts as a metaphor to explain the period of transition between child and adulthood, in addition to the sense of suspended time or paralysis between before the Covid pandemic and an unknown future.
The photographs in the book are a combination of observed and staged moments, and recreated memories. The young people they depict are often lit by the light of a phone or laptop, as they are pictured in small groups or alone in kitchens, bedrooms, on urban streets, or in the midst of Covid-compliant nature. Where family groups are shown, often at dining room tables, the images reflect the silence and shared tension between the generations. As the book progresses, a sense of isolation increases; even those in groups often appear alone in contemplation. There is only one crowd scene in the book, incongruous, and jarring against the isolation which had become the norm.
Zwischen den Jahren is published by GOST Books.