SouthEast 24-7 Photo Marathon

Ten photographs taken within 24 hours from seven cities

A project by Christian Gracza, Stephanie Hübner, Bettina Lehmann, Karin Rolle, Wiebke Stadler, Sophie Werner, and Lucia Zimmermann

Host organizations: Lenau House, The International Elias Canetti Society, City Galleries Osijek, Protok - Center for Visual Communication, NGO Kontrapunkt, German Cultural Center Sibiu, and Qendra Multimedia

February/March 2010, photo marathon and vernissage, Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Osijek (Croatia), Pécs (Hungary), Pristina (Kosovo), Ruse (Bulgaria), Skopje (Macedonia), and Sibiu (Romania); April 2010, joint project presentation, Pécs (Hungary)

For two days in February of 2010, photo marathons took place simultaneously throughout seven Central and Southeastern European cities. All that was needed to participate was a sharp eye, quick reflexes, and a digital camera. The photographers had exactly 24 hours in their respective cities to take one digital photograph for each of ten terms, such as "Dream House," "Utopia," or "Made in..." A jury from each city then selected the three best pictures per term from the submitted works, and these were presented together in each of the participating cities. The best picture overall for each of the ten terms was then printed as a postcard and published in local newspapers.

The most interesting, critical, or humorous photos per city and per term were then entered into an international competition. The winners were selected by professional photographers from Germany and the participating cities. The photos that won were then presented at a large final exhibition in Pécs in April 2010 within the context of "European Capital of Culture Pécs 2010," and also printed as postcard sets. All winners were invited to attend the presentation.

The project resonated strongly with audiences. More than 100 photographers participated in Sibiu, for example, and nearly twice that number were in attendance for the local presentation. The project offered people an opportunity to share their own perspectives and views of the city. Similarities and differences between the participants' lived experiences and perceptions were reflected in the photographs they took. SouthEast 24-7 demonstrated how people from different countries have different associations with certain terms, and how they relate to their hometowns.

With support from: Robert Bosch Stiftung, Goethe-Institut, GTZ Bosnia and Herzegovina