Emile Ducke

6x6 Europe Talent: Emile Ducke, Germany

"Emile’s innovative, exciting use of photography is surprising and genuine. He often works with a middle format camera and waits for the right situation to develop, making his photographs compellingly intimate." – Ruth Eichhorn, Germany, freelance photo editor, curator and 6x6 nominator

Emile Ducke is a documentary photographer from Munich, Germany currently based in Moscow. After spending an exchange semester at Tomsk State University in Siberia, he decided to put off finishing his college degree in photojournalism and documentary photography in Hannover and move to Moscow to be closer to the stories he wants to tell. In his work he aims to explore how historic changes affect communities.


Isolated in the West Siberian plain, the village of Aidara is only reachable by the river Ket through a passage that requires attention and experience as fallen trees often create obstacles under the water’s surface. The next biggest settlement is about three hours downriver, and seemingly endless forest spreads out at the outskirts, reaching deep into the Siberian wilderness. The village of 150 inhabitants mainly consists of a community of Russian Orthodox Old Believers who live by the strict rules of their religion. Russian Orthodox Old Believers see themselves as the preservers of original Orthodox traditions, after they separated from the main church as a protest against reforms in the 17th century. Due to a history of persecution in Tsarist Russia, Old Believers have mostly settled in more isolated locations. Beside their practices of faith, the everyday life of Aidara’s inhabitants consists of exhausting agricultural work on the fields and in their gardens – their sustenance is almost wholly self-sufficient.


The Saint Lukas train is one of five government-funded medical trains that travel to remote towns in central and eastern Russia. Supplying the regions of Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo and Khakassia, the train of 13 wagons is equipped with a laboratory for blood tests, sonography, devices for brain wave scans and heart rhythm tests, X-ray equipment and a dental surgery. The train runs on two-week journeys, ten times a year, stopping at approximately eight stations on each journey. Usually the areas that the train visits do not completely lack health care, as they have at least one doctor or nurse. The train enables the inhabitants to visit several well-equipped specialists on a single day. The 17 doctors and their assistants examine up to 150 patients a day, seeing about 15 000 patients per year.

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