Valentin Goppel – Between the Years

Valentin Goppel – Zwischen den Jahren

The winning series by the German photographer and 2022 Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer recipient, has now appeared as a photo book published by Gost Books. With 37 images, the large-format book offers a great opportunity to once again appreciate the touching pictures and experience the young photographer’s particular visual language.

On New Year’s Eve in 2020, Valentin Goppel began to photograph his friends and acquaintances in an attempt to both process and represent the disorientation he felt during the time of Covid. Through taking pictures of his friends he found a way to deal with the uncertainty. It was not difficult for him to explain to them the pictures he was looking for— they were all in the middle of the same situation and felt connected in a state of limbo.

The book’s title Zwischen den Jahren describes the time between Christmas and New Year—the time between years. It acts as a metaphor to explain the period of transition between child and adulthood, in addition to the sense of suspended time or paralysis between the time before the Covid pandemic and an unknown future.

“I tried to find ways to express the diffused feelings of growing up in the ‘time of corona’. Not knowing where to hold on when everything is shaking around you, may just be natural during the period in life when one is no longer a child, but not yet an adult. The pandemic worked as a catalyst to my disorientation.”

Goppel’s series is a combination of observed and staged moments, and recreated memories. The young people they depict are often lit by the light of a phone or laptop, as they are pictured in small groups or alone in kitchens, bedrooms, on urban streets or in the midst of Covid-compliant nature. Where family groups are shown, often at dining room tables, the images reflect the silence and shared tension between the generations. As the book progresses, a sense of solitude increases – even those in groups often appear alone in contemplation. There is only one crowd scene in the book, incongruous, and jarring against the isolation which had become the norm.

Valentin Goppel

Born in Regensburg in 2000, Goppel lives today in Hanover. He is not only the recipient of the 2022 Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer  and the VGH Fotopreis 2022, but was also honoured with the Visa pour l’image Urban Newcomer Photographer’s Grant. Goppel’s work can already be found in collections at locations such as the Sprengel Museum Hanover and the Kunsthalle Bremen. His pictures have appeared in numerous exhibitions, including at the Leica Gallery in Singapore, the Ernst Leitz Museum in Wetzlar, the Art Museum in Bochum, the Leica Galleries in Los Angeles and London, as well as the Citadel of Saladin in Cairo. His images have appeared in international publications, such as Zeit and The New York Times.

Portrait: © Alex Wohn

Valentin Goppel, Zwischen den Jahren, 80 pages, 37 colour images, 30.5 × 24 cm, English, Gost Books


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