Photofusion Member | Chloe Borkett

Stories East of the River takes an intimate journey into the lives of the new generation growing up in the unrecognised country of Transdniester, the breakaway territory between Moldova and Ukraine in Eastern Europe. Transdniester announced its secession from Moldova in September 1990 due to ethnic tensions and political differences. After a short but violent civil war, Transdniester has been governed defacto for 21 years as the self-elected Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic but still remains unrecognised by the international community.

© Chloe Borkett

The first generation to grow up within the political disharmony are deeply proud to be Russian but are starting to question the tiny republicʼs success and the implications for their own futures. International trade is restricted; jobs and opportunities are limited and on going difficulties with obtaining expensive visas limits economic migration. Some of the teenagers involved in the series claimed that the government has profited greatly in the twilight of disputed sovereignty, lining their pockets and keeping its people in poverty – the average wage is $130/£80 per month.

Within the countryʼs isolated confines the decayed splendour of the Soviet Unionʼs utopian dream still hangs in the air, making the youth of Transdniester become something of a jilted generation, let down by socialist dreams. Evidenced by crumbling architecture of deserted and disused cultural institutes, with little on offer in a place supposed to be called home, many look afar. Access to the internet feeds desires to move away or emulate aspects of western living, but lack of vibrant and modern alternatives locally, reduces such to idealism, as the uncertainty of Transdniesterʼs future, continues their waiting game for change.

In 2011 Chloe Borkett graduated with a degree in documentary photography from the University of Wales, Newport. Prior to this Chloe worked in the music industry for five years and spent three years as a teacher and charity worker in South East Asia. Chloe also holds a degree in business and economics. To date Chloeʼs work has explored social issues concerning minority groups, youth and migration, as well as the exploration of underground and alternative cultures. She is particularly interested in contemporary social concerns with a focus on human rights.

Her work has been recognised through international competitions and awards, which included, Magenta Flash Forward, Lucie Foundation Emerging Scholarship, Wine Photo Award, Emergent Fundacio Sorigue Award, and Luceo Image Project Award.

Her work has been published in, The Telegraphʼs Telephoto, BBC Wales online, 1000 Words, Burn Magazine, and Fotovisura. In 2011, Chloe was invited to talk about, ʻStories East of the Riverʼ at the Llieda Emergent Festival in Spain. Selected pictures were also exhibited at the Ian Parry Award Exhibition at the Getty Gallery in London.

Chloe is currently developing a new personal body of work in Ukraine as well as a portrait commission for DePaul International homeless charity. [203]

Celine Marchbank Chloe Borkett Chloe Borkett Chloe Borkett Chloe Borkett