When the communist regimes collapsed in 1989, and democracy was introduced alongside capitalism, a euphoric enthusiasm prevailed in Eastern Europe which in the course of time, however, became overshadowed by all kinds of disappointments and moral confusion. The affluent society has reemained a distant dream to the majority of the population.

MAGNUM-photographer Carl De Keyzer has portrayed this subject in his book "East of Eden", after two years of travelling in East Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia and Serbia.

The title refers not to a lost paradise, but to an ideal future and to an idealized view on that's within sight yet not within reach, and to an idealized view on the Western way of life.

The expressive black and white photographs of daily life scenes in Eastern Europe's major cities and provincial towns, are complemented by the thoughts of selected Eastern European writers including: E.M Cioran , H.M Enzensberger, Eva Hoffman, Ivan Klima, Gyorgy Konrad, Ismail Kadare, Vaclav Havel, Dubravka Ugresic, Czeslaw Milosz

Some of these texts - excerpted from recent writings - are philosophical and personal views on possibilities and limits of changes to society in general, while others examine more specifically the recent history and the actual situation in Eastern Europe.

some selected photos :