“Why Dresden - Photographs 1984/85 & 2015” is mainly composed of images taken in 1984 and 1985, after Japanese photographer Seiichi Furuya moved to the city in the GDR to work as an interpreter. The book unfolds as a personal and intimate story, capturing intimate scenes, deep-seated anxieties and moments of happiness of a young family but also documenting the daily life in the socialist state from the rare perspective of the outsider. Most photographs show the family’s life (Furuya, his wife Christine, and their young son) in the city, with occasional shots of public spaces reminding us of the political background, and of the future to come. The tragic knowledge of what’s to come penetrates the book in more ways. Knowledge of the suicide of Furuya’s young wife, not long after the photographs were taken, is a haunting presence in each photograph with Christine.
The final pages of the book add another new layer. In 2015, Furuya visited Dresden again for the first time in 30 years. While there, he captured not only old familiar places, now changed by the forces of capitalist life, but also the weekly Pegida protest marches of anti-immigrant extreme right-wingers.
The book also features a long text by Dresden-based author Manfred Wiemer in English translation.