I grew up in the bordering region between the Czech Republic and Poland, more precisely the historical area of Silesia. At the age of six me and my mates from the elementary school started to explore our mainly agricultural territory. From time to time we rode our bikes towards THE line obviously experiencing a huge thrill. The customs container was more of a guard’s spot because there was no way to cross at that time. At least we could dream of crossing the border all alone just by ourselves. It was our guilty pleasure and we never told it to our parents.
About ten years after the fall of communism they lifted that already ignored bar and abandoned the container. Since then I crossed the borders several times and strangely enough having my own passport in my pants I was feeling absolutely nothing. In 2004 Poland joined the EU and in 2007 the Schengen Area which to me was the right impulse to finally realize that there are no borders anymore. I already moved from my parents and felt some kind of nostalgic about my hometown Opava and its surroundings. Hence in late spring 2009 I popped in my car clearly remembering a mindset of a young punk on a bike and drove to the nearest polish village called Pilszcz to properly explore and shoot some frames.
My crappy Polish proved to be rubbish but anyway according to the locals I met in the villages of Pilszcz and Kietrz, plenty of young local born people went to the UK to improve their financial situation. Typically the elderly stay and keep the villages nice. There is nothing like a typical “post-communist decay feeling” going on here. I would say it is much more about recent labour-related issues and consequent family separation.