Stepping Out Into This Almost Empty Road looks at the moment of change when an idyllic scenario is transformed by the horror of a political regime; from picking apples in the orchard to tear gas on the street. The project combines photographic material and texts that revolve around an in-between state that’s inseparable from migration. What happens when you’re forced to leave something behind and start anew elsewhere? What tools do you use to visualise loss and the absence? How do you build an identity when the dialect you speak is rejected as a language? Though focused on stories from a specific community, the project highlights the universal elements of transition.
Aware of the discrepancies of representation within the political apparatus of photography – of who is looking and who is being looked at – Orpik works on the basis of invitation rather than stepping into spaces where she doesn’t belong. The encounter itself is more important than its outcome, and the community she portrays was depicted in the way it wanted to be – leaving their traces only in text, or in the photographed objects and landscapes that surround them on a daily basis. Stepping Out Into This Almost Empty Road became a reflection on what constitutes a neighbourhood, the experience of migration, and how diversity can bring people together.