Plane Watchers (2010 – 2011), a series shot by an Estonian photographer Annika Haas, is a fascinating story of ‘the dacha-district in the surroundings of Tallinn Airport, a relic of the Soviet era’ in contemporary Estonia. Workers of a local factory were given free allotments back in 1960s and, with time, those suburban gardens turned into a small dacha district living its own life. In modern Estonia the land changed legal ownership and after being nobody’s and everybody’s for over 30 years, it ended up in hands of the airport’s owners who sentenced the Suur-Sõjamäe district to a complete annihilation.
It is fascinating how the Plane Watchers cycle brings not only feelings of nostalgia and now gone happiness but also manages to portray a much bigger story. The story of a never-ending conflict between past and future, decline and progress, new and old. Simple fact that Haas decided to shoot this series with a Lubitel, a Russian-made medium format twin-lens reflex camera, can only act as a statement of support for this ‘unique cultural phenomenon, which might soon be buried under concrete.’
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