S. A. D.
The city was growing bigger. It was swiftly changing its look, with an increasing fury claiming to have in its possession the green oases, which with every passing year were getting closer encircled by the stone jungle. Not so long ago surrounded by single-story private houses, the garden, where I used to toboggan on a sled, became a tasty delicacy for urban developers, striving to thrust their gray skyscrapers in every vacant space around. Where, in the late 1990s, together with my parents I used to go skiing and with my classmates - to attend Biology teacher’s excursions, now there is a sandy break, and next to it - a parking lot for residents of a newly built block of flats.
The rapidity of changes in the urban landscape alongside with the information flow, which clogs our memory as much as stone debris, forced me to return to the apple orchard again and again - a familiar, but at the same time constantly changing place. Stretching between the three sleeping districts of the capital, in official maps it had no clear naming. The locals simply called it "the garden", and it was this definition that quickly became popular among its regulars: dogs and sportsmen, fans of Sunday picnics and alcoholics. Before the revolution, perhaps belonging to one family, and at the time of Lenin’s New Economic Policy - to a collective farm, after the collapse of the USSR the garden provided the enterprising residents of nearby houses with source of income and singles - with a quiet place of long lonesome walks. In the early 2000s, I started to join them myself, wandering along the paths with a film camera.
After the first visits to the garden, many years after my childhood, I decided to try to capture a smoothly passing life evolving there with my camera - the way how this at first glance strange and timeless environment dissolves any person who turns out to be there. The landscape became a catalyst for thoughts and feelings about the connection between a person and a place, the role the city we live in plays in shaping our views on life and ourselves in it.
Time after time, returning to the garden alone or with a friend, I was getting more and more convinced that the place remained anonymous for years not by accident. It seemed that it was actually too intense and multilayered to fit into strict geographic coordinates. Without a definite name and free from associations with any specific locations, "S.A.D" (spelled according to the way the translation of the word “garden” sounds in Russian) became a code for the unnamed state of meditation, appeasement and beauty, which, together with the photographer, each viewer can feel through the prism their personal experience.
2009 - 2017
* Please see Russian description of the project on the last page of gallery.