HUFFINGTON POST

Photographer Captures Remnants Of Europe's Past To Imagine Its Future

"It's about a world which is moving closer together, where we solve problems together and not against each other."
Polish-born, Germany-based photographer took photos of defunct European border crossings to challenge how Europeans cons
Polish-born, Germany-based photographer took photos of defunct European border crossings to challenge how Europeans consider the notion of "borders." This photo was taken at the Hungarian-Slovenian border.

Polish-born photographer Josef Schulz is reusing remnants of Europe's fragmented past to imagine its future.

Inspired by his own experiences living in Germany, and teaching in Norway and Sweden, Schulz traveled across Europe in 2007 and 2008, taking photos of old, defunct checkpoints to challenge how Europeans view the notion of "borders." Schulz's project is named "Ubergang," the German word for "transition" or "crossing." 

As the European Union grows continuously in size and scope, many internal borders have come down. Most EU countries now belong in the Schengen zone, where citizens can travel freely across countries without border controls.

"Borders were put up because of political decisions, and people got used to it," Schulz told The WorldPost. "It's more a border in your mind."

But while physical borders have fallen, psychological borders remain, Schulz said. He wants to break those down, too.

"[Tearing down borders] is not about giving up your own culture," Schulz wrote. "It's about a world which is moving closer together, where we solve problems together and not against each other."

As the European Union continues to expand, many physical borders have fallen. This photo was taken at the border between Germ
As the European Union continues to expand, many physical borders have fallen. This photo was taken at the border between Germany and France.

The Schengen area -- one of the European Union's largest and most celebrated policies -- has been under attack lately, however. Countries like Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia have sealed their borders to stop thousands of migrants and refugees from entering their countries, leaving thousands stranded in the cold outdoors. Denmark and Sweden have also enforced stricter border controls to slow down the flow of people into their countries.

Following the deadly attacks on Paris last November, French authorities also established checkpoints on major roads with Belgium, requiring drivers and passengers to show their passports before being able to pass. Armed guards also started patrolling cross-border trains, The Telegraph reported in November.

Take a look at the photo project below:

  • Germany/Netherlands
    Josef Schulz
    Germany/Netherlands
  • France/Belgium
    Josef Schulz
    France/Belgium
  • Andorra/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Andorra/Spain
  • Germany/Belgium
    Josef Schulz
    Germany/Belgium
  • France/Italy
    Josef Schulz
    France/Italy
  • Italy/Austria
    Josef Schulz
    Italy/Austria
  • France/Italy
    Josef Schulz
    France/Italy
  • Austria/Germany
    Josef Schulz
    Austria/Germany
  • Austria/Germany
    Josef Schulz
    Austria/Germany
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Austria/Slovenia
    Josef Schulz
    Austria/Slovenia
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Portugal/Spain
    Josef Schulz
    Portugal/Spain
  • Spain/France
    Josef Schulz
    Spain/France
  • Spain/France
    Josef Schulz
    Spain/France
  • Spain/France
    Josef Schulz
    Spain/France
  • Hungary/Slovenia
    Josef Schulz
    Hungary/Slovenia
  • Hungary/Austria
    Josef Schulz
    Hungary/Austria

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Schulz had lived in Germany, Sweden and Norway. He lives permanently in Germany and taught as a visiting lecturer in Sweden and Norway.

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