Sebastian Hopp was born in 1989 in Germany. After his graduation as a carpenter it was a life-changing decision to study photography at University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund, Germany. In 2016 he completed the studies as Bachelor specialized in Documentary Photography and started the Master studies. Photography to him means the ability to get a deep insight in different cultures and ways of life. Creating pictures of people and their surroundings gives him the opportunity to understand and explain how our modern world is changing.To Sebastian Hopp storytelling is a matter of trust and cooperation between him and his stories. Working on slow medium- and large format cameras, Hopp emphasizes the tension of the moment, by forcing both himself and the people in his portraits to be present here and now. The result is an emotional and intense photographic language which allows the viewer to access the story directly through the eyes of his subjects.
Red Nostalgia is an ongoing documentary project in which Sebastian Hopp photographed inhabitants of Georgia, a former Soviet country, who still feel a strong nostalgic affection towards their infamous former leader, Joseph Stalin.
While the youth of Georgia have become more and more influenced by Western culture, the aging seniors raised in the Soviet era seem all the more attached to their Soviet roots. While almost every city has its own Stalinist movement, one place stands out: the city of Gori, Georgia.
Gori is Stalin‘s birthplace and traces of cultish devotion can be found everywhere. Gori is home of the world’s largest Stalin museum; there the gift shop sells everything from T-shirts to cups adorned with his face. The local grocery store has a two-story Stalin portrait on its outer facade. Devotion to Stalin is alive in the hearts of Georgian citizens. They are proud of their connection to the historic former leader.
Through his work, Hopp wanted to examine how it is possible for people in Georgia to accept the cruelty of Stalin’s regime and continue to raise their children following Communist traditions. In an effort to understand their worldview, he interviewed and photographed Georgians of all ages.
Sebastian Hopp creates a sensitive and intense atmosphere, which allows us to float between the nostalgia of the past and the uncertainty towards the future.
By capturing their pride, he gives a deeper insight into how two generations and cultures can co-exist in a single nation, while diametrically opposed to the ideals of the other.
To view more of their work please visit his website.