5Q2 - Emile Ducke

Empathy in photography and traveling along the Ket River – in our format 5 questions to (5Q2), we talk to the artists of our Instagram takeovers about the work they show, their influences and upcoming plans. In December 2020 we talked to photographer Emile Ducke.


Emile Ducke is a German documentary photographer based in Moscow, Russia.



Photo: Alina Pinchuk

Fototreff: Did you encounter a special challenge while working on the project you’re showing?

Emile Ducke: The logistics of traveling along the Ket River. When I tried to visit the Old Believers of Aidara for a second time in the winter of 2018, I got stuck in a logging settlement, just 40 kilometers away from Aidara. As temperatures plummeted to – 45° Celsius that January, it was not possible to drive any further as it would have been too cold for the snowmobile. I ended up waiting for a week in the local hospital, that offered me a warm room. Eventually, I had to head back without any success.

FT: Is there a photographer or artist who influenced you in a particular way?

ED: Andrea Diefenbach’s deeply empathetic work on the impact that traveling out of Moldova to find work has on workers and their families.

FT: Which (photo-) book should everybody own (or you would like to have?

ED: Not a photo-book, but a fascinating look into contemporary Russia: Joshua Yaffa’s book ‚Between Two Fires‘.

FT: Can you recommend an exhibition we should go and see right away?

ED: I’d wish!

FT: Have you started working on a new project? Any beans to spill?

ED: Currently I am about to continue my work on the legacy of Stalin’s forced labour camps, most recently with a photo-essay on the Kolyma region in Russia’s Far East published.

Thank you very much for this short interview and your takeover.

See this and other takeovers on the FOTOTREFF Berlin Instagram channel: