visits to my village

I grew up in the small village of Vrin in the Swiss Alps. In 1990, after graduating from the “Lehrerseminar” in Chur and teaching elementary school in Vrin, I emigrated to the United States, where I’ve lived since. Throughout these years, I’ve returned home for a visit nearly every year.

My periodic visits to Vrin, or perhaps the long absences from the village, gave me a view of the accelerated changes that both the village and its inhabitants were and are continuing to go through. Many of the farming techniques I witnessed and practiced during my childhood were disappearing. One spring I witnessed the last time my dad made cheese from his cow’s milk, while on another visit I watched two now retired farmers make their last hay bundles, above the village.

I realized I was now seeing Vrin with the eyes of an immigrant. Separated from the gradual evolution of the village, I felt a great loss which compelled me to document my trips in an effort to better process the changes and to stay connected to my home.

“Visits To My Village” stands as a diary of yearly entries designed to remind me of my roots. It is a personal attempt to understand and process the steady changes to village life over the course of my lifetime. The act of photographing keeps me from becoming a stranger in my own hometown, making the interactions with the villagers — the process of creating this work, in other words — as important to me as the photographs themselves. The means are as important as the ends.

For a complete description of the project, download PDF.