Tomsk. Disappearing reality. 2005-2009.
It so happened, that I haven’t visited Tomsk as often as I would like, lately. Nonetheless it is my home city, the city where I was born, grew up, studied, where I found my first love. It is home to people near and dear to me, parents and friends, whose heartbeat I can feel even many thousand kilometers away.
Every time I come back to Tomsk after a long break, wondering the streets, I’ve noticed how much the city has changed, particularly the downtown.
Should you step off the main street, you will encounter a completely different world, the world that excited me and charmed a photographer in me. This realm seems to have abandoned its past, but not yet conscious of what awaits it in near future. This is a domain of fanciful and vulnerable lines that can arouse many different emotions, ranging from most pleasant ones to absolute disgust. Yet it is a sincere world that is Tomsk as well.
Houses that stand half-buried up to the windows in the ground; youths, “the future of Tomsk football”, holding a resident block tournament on the pavement near a burnt down wooden house; three chairs, held together with boards in front of a luxurious hotel, sitting there for no apparent purpose; tightly shut windows, plastered up with newspapers, where no face will ever appear again; abandoned cars, rotting away in backyards; baby carriage stuffed with all sorts of expired junk, standing in the middle of a snow-covered street. These are the symbols of the dying age.
Parallel dimensions of the city. Here we can observe the waning essence that we must try to remember, feel, internalize and preserve in photographs. The chronicle of the passing epoch is what characterizes this alternative dimension. Contemporary local lore, a unique disappearing legacy, a whole different cultural layer of the city, its parallel existence. This is the dimension that is usually kept hidden from guests, the dimension of utilitarian reality. This is the daily reality as it is known to most locals. The project that you witness is an attempt of a sensuous analysis of the city daily routine by means of visual publicity of a photograph.
Sergey Rakov, social and cultural projects critic.