Christian Lutz

I live in a country, Switzerland, in which the right-wing populists are now the foremost political force in the government. I remember how angry I was the night I spent hours and hours removing nauseating flyers they’d left on the windshields of cars all over my neighborhood. That was back in 2013. It was spine-chilling to watch the meteoric ascent of the populist party, which was started up shortly after the turn of the millennium in Geneva, the city I was born and still reside in. Not long after that nocturnal episode, I began taking photographs on the outskirts of Geneva, where the populists were garnering more and more support. Photography was my release, a response to my dread of what I felt was an attempt to take the people and their minds hostage.
That’s how the project Citizens got started: I felt impelled to delve into these so-called ‘common sense parties’ whose promises of a better life are based on lies and manipulation. I began crisscrossing Europe, putting in stops at populist strongholds and attending nationalist gatherings all over the continent. The photographs in this book were shot in Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Denmark, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands between 2013 and 2020.