Jacob Aue Sobol: Arrivals and Departures

“Every image I create is a picture of how I feel that day – my experience of a place. It has become my ability to isolate my emotions, and communicate them through the camera and into the mind of the viewer.”
The Danish photographer produced this series during a trip from Moscow to Beijing, on the Trans-Siberian Railway. However, very few pictures were taken on the train, because he found virtually no one to photograph and the atmosphere on board did not meet his expectations. Consequently, he decided that the journey should include a couple of days spent in Moscow, Ulaanbaatar, and Beijing respectively. In these places, he was inspired by many new impressions and took photographs of landscapes, street scenes, and, above all, people he encountered.

Sobol’s motifs are powerful and emotional; his portraits, in particular, seem radical and direct. Closely cropped, the images often convey a feeling of intimacy and familiarity towards his new friends. With this series taken in Russia, Mongolia, and China, the photographer is not only reflecting on a journey through history and the places he visited but also on a journey to his own self. The outcome is an exploration of the emotional conditions that can control and inspire people, and keep them moving. Sobol also considers his motifs an invitation to the viewer, to see the pictures as a reflection of his or her own feelings.

For Sobol’s expressive, high-contrast black and white imagery, revealed in his landscape motifs and portraits, the Leica Monochrom M, which he used for the first time in 2012, turned out to be the perfect travel companion. The photographer has succeeded in continuing to produce his unique, raw aesthetics, switching effortlessly from analog black and white to digital format.

About the Author

Jacob Aue Sobol was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1976. A photographer and member of Magnum Photos, he has published several monographs of his unique, expressive style of black-and-white photography and exhibited his work widely. His images focus on the universality of human emotion and the search for love within oftentimes harsh surroundings.

A portrait of Jacob Aue Sobol

Jacob lived in Canada from 1994-95 and Greenland from 2000-2002. In Spring 2006 he moved to Tokyo, living there 18 months before returning to Denmark in August 2008. He has traveled extensively in the years since, photographing in Siberia, Thailand, Mongolia, America, and China while staying based in Copenhagen.
After studying at the European Film College, in 1998 Jacob was admitted to Fatamorgana, a Danish school for documentary and art photography. In the autumn of 1999, he went to live in the settlement Tiniteqilaaq on the East Coast of Greenland. Over the next three years, he lived mainly in this township with his Greenlandic girlfriend Sabine and her family, living the life of a fisherman and seal hunter but also photographing. The resulting book “Sabine” was published in 2004.

In the summer of 2005, Jacob traveled with a film crew to Guatemala to make a documentary about a young Mayan girl’s first journey to the ocean. The following year he returned by himself to the mountains of Guatemala, where he met the indigenous Gomez-Brito family. He stayed with them for a month to tell the story of their everyday life. The series won first prize in the Daily Life category of World Press Photo in 2006.
In 2006 he moved to Tokyo and during the next two years, he created the images for the book “I, Tokyo,” which was awarded the Leica European Publishers Award in 2008.
Following his time in Tokyo, Jacob worked extensively in Bangkok, resulting in the 2016 book “By the River of Kings.” In 2012 he began photographing along the Trans-Siberian Railroad and spent the next five winters photographing in the remote Russian province of Yakutia for his project “Road of Bones.” He has ongoing projects in Denmark (“Home”) and the United States (“America”).

04/21/2021 – 06/21/2021
Leica Gallery Wetzlar

Paperback: 50 pages
Publisher: Leica Gallery Warszawa (2013)
Language: English
Weight: 1.5 pounds
ISBN-10: 8393579813
ISBN-13: 978-8393579815

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