07.06.10
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East Timor, Dili

Being shown around by my friends around this young nation it occurred to me that it would become difficult to write a short story about it. So much has happened here and so much is still happening. With this project I have to make choices. What do I think is important to show about how things are.

Timor Leste has had a violent war with Indonesia. A dreadfull time of which the scars are still very visible. After independence in 2002 the East-Timorese started fighting amongst eachother. Things have been hard.

There is a huge U.N. presence in Dili and the rest of the country. It is still very necessary as I'm told. It fills up the power vacuum that exsists here. This young nation is still desperately looking for it's solid form. As far as I could tell the foreign help is welcomed by the East-Timorese for now.

But I choose to show another part. A positive part of the streetlife in this city. Although the scarred building are still to be found dotted along the capitals roads, at noon the young people gather at the seaside to study and talk. They are many and they look confident. Some of them practice their English on me and I ask if they like living here. They all reply 'yes'. Who really knows what wil rise outoff the ashes of this country's recent past. But I see a determined look in the eyes of these young East-Timorese.

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In the project "Streets of the World", photographer Jeroen Swolfs captures street life in all 205 of the world's capitals. Differences are visible immediately: differences in people, environments, cultures and circumstances. The consequences of wars, natural disasters, and famine are contrasted with luxury, pragmatism, warmth and security. An important similarity captured in each urban image is the portrayal of everyday life. Life abounds everywhere with all its resilience, hope, friendship and perseverance. This is a photography project that not only distinguishes itself in scale, but also through the realistic vision of the photographer and his eye for the global citizen.
Jeroen Swolfs
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