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?