Student Award 2018 | Nanna Heitmann – ENG

Student Award Winner 2018 Nanna Heitmann

<< The photographer is able to tell a story which is well known but uses a new language to convey a powerful message: the end of an era. Looking at the pictures and the melancholic stare of the protagonists, the viewer can sense the passage toward a new stage. Something will be missed along the way and the pale colors and delicate composition embody this feeling of nostalgia. Yet the strong contrast captures the harsh conditions that an entire generation of people has had to suffer,

This is a narrative that illustrates the identity of a region to remember what it once was, and to look at the future with an alternate perspective. >>

Gone from the Window - The End of an Era

Coal mining enabled Germany‘s participation in the industrial revolution and contributed to the German “Wirtschaftswunder” after World War II; resulting in the development of today‘s key industries. That is all history. Prosper-Haniel, the last remaining colliery, closes in 2018.

Coal mining had once attracted countless people from all over Germany, as well as migrant workers from Turkey, Greece and Poland, all with the hope of a better life.

The elderly men are marked by decades of hard work. Broken knees and herniated discs are the consequences after a life spent in a mine. In the worst case, the inhaled coal dustpan lead to the malignant form of the silicosis. Fortunately, the once widespread miner‘s disease has become much rarer. But this doesn’t erase the memories seeing elderly individuals, sitting by the open window, gasping for breath. If the disease ultimately killed one of them, he was “gone from the window“ – that‘s where the German phrase comes from.

Nobody will mourn the overexploitation of man and nature when the last colliery closes. But the warmth of the miners, their traditions and the very special identity of this region: this will be missed.

Nanna Heitmann was born in 1994. She is a freelance photographer and she is currently studying photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover, Germany.

She has received awards and mentions such as the Kolga Tbilisi Photo, the Rovinj Photodays first prize, the Belgrade Photo Month New Talents. Her work has been exhibited in Georgia, Lithuania, Serbia, Polonia and in Germany.