45 describes a sequence of image fragments that emphasise and contrast human presence in their physical surroundings. Upon closer examination, the viewer becomes aware that all images are taken through a train window. The photographer’s journey, which takes him from Ukraine to Oslo through present-day Europe, is inspired by train journeys taken by relatives in 1945 and 1978, leading them to death or freedom. The book’s narrative challenges the issue of forced immigration within the boundaries of Europe’s past and present.
In 2020 the book received the First Book Award by Mack.
Damian Heinisch. Born 1968 in Zabrze, Poland. Lives and works in Oslo, Norway.
By The Way
Three Colors: Blue (Bleu: Bande Originale Du Film) is the soundtrack album to the award-winning film Three Colors: Blue, with music composed by Zbigniew Preisner. The music is performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia (Beata Rybotycka, Elżbieta Towarnicka, Jacek Ostaszewski, Konrad Mastyło, Silesian Filharmonic Choir, Sinfonia Varsovia, Wojciech Michniewski – conductor).
Back in 1945, my grandfather disappeared from Gliwice in Upper Silesia along with countless other men. They were taken by train to a working camp in Ukraine. His grave is unknown and all that remains is a small diary he wrote throughout his deportation.
In 1978, following a lengthy existential struggle and forced political unemployment, my father left Gliwice with his family to start a new life in West Germany. I understood that my family’s lives had been considerably influenced by forced immigration, and that trains had played a significant role in the process of resettlement. I began to respect the “forced” journeys of my family members while at the same time documenting my own.
Texts based on the journeys of each family member complement the image sequence and help solve the puzzle. At this point in all three journeys, each family member turned 45.