Lands of No-Return: A Photography Series by Viktoria Sorochinski

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Lands of No-Return (Chapter 1, 2009 / Chapter 2, 2016) is a long-term, ongoing project portraying the last remains of the authentic Ukrainian villages and its elderly inhabitants.

I was born in Ukraine, and my grandparents lived in one of the small villages near Kiev. I remember visiting this place as a child. Those memories are filled with light and happiness.

When I visited this village again for the first time in 2006, after many years of immigration, I was astonished at how lifeless and miserable it had become. Those who remain there are almost exclusively the elderly. They are living out their last days, neglected by the government and often abandoned even by their families. They are gradually disappearing together with their traditions and their deteriorating homes.

Throughout the last ten years, I came to Ukraine several times and photographed the villages surrounding its capital. In the beginning, it was difficult to find the right approach, and my fist attempts came out too sentimental. It was as if I was trying to juxtapose my childhood memories with reality. Only a few years later (in 2009) I realized what I actually wanted to show: the honest portraits of the people, along with their homes with which they have become one.

For me, this series is a kind of tribute to the past. This project is the most personal of all my works because it is directly related to my grandfather and great grandmother who were born and who are buried in one of these villages. Although this project started as a personal journey, the more I worked on it, the more I realized that capturing and commemorating these people and places has a greater value. They are the last remaining evidence of the once magical and vibrant culture that will soon be known only from the history books.

 

Viktoria Sorochinski left the USSR with her parents in 1990, aged 11. After living in Israel, she continued her studies of Fine Arts in Montreal, then in New York City, where she acquired her Masters of Fine Arts in 2008. She is currently living and working in Berlin, Germany. Her work has been widely exhibited and published throughout Europe, North and South America and Asia. She is a winner and finalist of numerous internationally acclaimed photography competitions, fellowships and awards among which are Lucie Award (Discovery of the Year), LensCulture Exposure Award,  LensCulture Portrait Award, Magenta Flash Forward, PDN Photo Annual, J.M.Cameron Award, Voies Off Arles Award, ONWARD, Review Santa Fe, Descubrimientos PHE, BluePrint Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts (Travel Grant for Exhibtion)and Encuentros Abiertos. In 2013, her first monograph “Anna & Eve” was published in Germany by Peperoni Books.

 

Published on January 5, 2017.

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