Yana Nosenko

MFA ’23 Photography

I haven’t been home for more than three years. I’m not even sure if my home is Moscow anymore. 

At the end of February 2022, my country instigated a war in Ukraine. As a Russian, thousands of miles away from home, I couldn’t comprehend what was and (still is) happening. I realized that some of my peers and relatives back home have diametrically opposing viewpoints about the politics of war in Ukraine. I was shocked by the evident power of propaganda. In response, I turned to Russian idioms, which point to the physical act of brainwashing.

I have learned to speak different photographic dialects: I take self-portraits every morning, I make performative videos, I wander in urban settings. I try to connect to my family both literally and figuratively: through video calls, messengers, archival photographs, documents, and the act of walking. I search for Moscow in American cities. I set those parameters for myself: using a compass, I walk West or East with my grandfathers’ Soviet Zenit camera and I take photographs facing those two cardinal points. I find myself recording decaying scenes, self-destructing landscapes, blocked and broken portals.

Sometimes I dream about walking in the suburbs of Moscow and wonder how much it has changed. I try to bridge the gap between one home and another: Russia and the US, East and West, Black and White. I walk for hours with my camera and whenever I take a photograph, I Wonder: what time is it in Moscow?

Yana Nosenko earned a Graphic Design degree and worked for an urban planning company before turning to photography and video. She explores immigration, displacement, nomadism, and familial separation, reflecting on her own experiences growing up in Moscow, Russia. Her work was recently exhibited at the International Center of Photography Museum in New York City, Black Box Gallery, and Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. Yana currently resides in Boston, MA.