"monday, lisbon. tuesday in paris. wednesday full of moscow. thursday in belgrade. and on friday, police are kicking me off of the beach in barcelona. now i sit in a plane and let time carry me from one place to another; places that remain only as a recollection during a disconnected week. and freedom envelops me. and I know how great its value is. that it has no limit. for it forces a person out of themselves and enriches them with its open game of human encounters. most of these encounters stay on the surface, do not penetrate the skin. others will then again attain the status of friendship and love. more important, though, is how this or that human being with whom we have crossed paths showed themselves to be – with all of their peculiarities, in what makes them different the most, in what makes them who they are. and how they influenced us, because there is nothing worse than knowingly dying away, locked inside yourself, without having acknowledged another. a person then stops being themselves. nothing is more difficult and more beautiful than traversing the countryside from one place to the next, from one destiny to another. wanting and allowing people and places to get close to you. but every start to this learning process consists not in our trying to force our way into someone at every cost. because, as otokar březina writes: “not recognized, souls pass one another, each dimming its lantern in an encounter, distrustful...“"
Who is a city person? Today, more than two thirds of Europe’s population lives in cities. A knowledge of the historic genesis and of the economical, social and legal changes that cities have undergone since antiquity to modern times – as well as of a city’s problems as viewed by contemporary sociologists – gives us a lot to think about, but it still will not teach us how to understand a city. In addition to verifiable data from statistical yearbooks and sociological research, Imrich Veber’s photographs offer an entirely emotive, feeling based reflection of the European cities he has visited. With no claim to verity, they offer a view that ought to resonate primarily with our experience. This view does not worry itself with sociological, nor at all with photographical postulation, about how to observe today a city through one’s soul.
The HOMOurban series developed during the years of 2007 and 2012. With its visual form, it is a continuation of the strong tradition of the snapshot, but also of Czech documentary photography from the seventies and eighties. Imrich Veber hovers around the unclear border between tendencies that are most often designated as social or subjective documentary; he does not use the technology of today, and so the form of his photographs point to an unanchored timelessness. We find here the crampedness of urban space, the solitude of an individual in the middle of a crowd, absurdity, melancholy, estrangement, an element of the miraculous – all of this – as what usually tends to characterize similar city snapshots in the tradition of documentary photography. And we may even find something more.
Amid these pictures of European cities, what mindlessly piles up together are views of very diverse places – Prague, Madrid, Opava, Belgrade, Mikulov, Olomouc, Évora, Budapest, Moscow, Porto, Berlin, Paris, Nida, Venice, Corfu, Uzhhorod, London, Prešov, Rybaki, Lisbon… As is usual, we search for subtle differences: between the worlds of big cities, smaller ones and even smaller ones; between Western and Eastern Europe, or its southern and northern parts. Thus, according to slight indications, we more often differentiate. We would certainly not place these photographs next to one another. But in this way, Imrich Veber’s shots are provocative. By feeling, he forms them into collages of a shared identity.
He traverses; he draws our eyes across regions so that we concentrate on what is being shared. In a way, he has created an image of the European community, a photographic dialogue between experience from his native Opava life and experience from other cities.