Photography Firmly Enters the Everyday



from Ukraine

About the Book

This album illuminates popular photography in the USSR. Assembled in Ukraine with images from flea-markets and online auctions, it puts together an atlas of the Soviet century from a vantage point of everyday life. Around forty-three series and 370 anonymous images are presented for the first time.

Initiated in 2017, this survey of vernacular photographs ran parallel to the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine which was ignited in 2014 in Crimea and the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Prior to February 24, 2022, over 3000 collected photographs had been located in Kyiv; they were then evacuated to a safer place.

At war, the fragility of human life is taken to extremes. One’s own life, the lives of families, their homes, entire neighborhoods all become exposed. What will remain of domestic photo albums in the aftermath? For where there is fire, pictures burn.

Both a medium and a subject in this book, photography holds up a mirror to history. Constellations of images radiate minute details of the quotidian, the unique and the trivial, the mundane and the uncommon. They are records of social being during the 20th century communist project. Through them, the grand narratives of history are translated into human perspectives. In the meantime, the world picture endowed with photography echoes the polyphony of life itself.