Anderswo / Elsewhere

Petra Barth grew up in a rural village in postwar Germany. She, her parents and her sisters lived on a small piece of land where nature was untamed. She climbed trees, floated on tires in big puddles of rainwater, picked wild blueberries in a nearby forest, and wandered along the giant furrows of a massive potato field. But, as evenings approached, she feared for the moment she had to go to bed. Recurring nightmares haunted her during the day and kept her awake at night. “I kept hoping that if I didn’t fall asleep, I could escape my dreams. Maybe that’s why I am captivated by illusions.”

Author: Petra Barth


Her mother would hang the clothes for Petra and her sisters to wear the next morning on the closet door. How was she to know that they threw ominous shadows that danced across the room, intensified by the light of the moon shining through the tiny bedroom window? “Maybe that’s why I am fascinated by shadow and light.”

At sunrise, inspired by tales from faraway countries that her parents told them at bedtime, Petra and her sisters would roam the land and look for adventure. “Maybe that’s why I am drawn to the countryside, and to the unknown.”

Decades have passed and nightmares have been replaced by curiosity. Through the lens of her camera, Petra Barth was able to explore unfamiliar places and keep moments alive which otherwise would be forgotten. The Anderswo project started in 2004 with a trip to Nicaragua, followed by extended visits to South America, and continued through the rest of the world. What began as an intuitive process of exploring foreign countries and listening to the stories of the people living there, turned into a personal and deeply emotional experience – a photographer’s journey to learning more about herself.

By picking rural communities in countries that had a postwar or conflict history, Petra innately reminded herself of the place she grew up in. The stories she collected resembled the ones told by her grandparents. These similarities were not bound to any specific locations; on the contrary, as Petra eventually concluded, the locations didn’t matter at all. So when the time came to construct Anderswo, it was decided to divide the narrative into three “metaphorical” sections – Memory, Stories and Dreams – each representing a stage of her life. This book is a connector between Barth’s documentary work and emotions, and allows the reader to take a deeper look at the photographer’s experience and learn how that experience has shaped her into the photographer she is now.

Design: Henk van Assen, HvA Design, Brooklyn
ISBN 9789053309469
Format: 23.5 x 24.2 cm. portrait
Hardback with Swiss binding
160 Pages with approx. 70 photos in duotone

Reviews & Features
Photobook of the Month, fotoMAGAZIN
Guillotine magazine (in French)
Bildersturm blog 
LFI – Leica Fotografie International magazine #7/2021
Black+White Magazine #256
Analog Forever magazine

Additional information

Weight2 kg
Dimensions24.2 × 23.5 × 0.14 cm


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