Alexandra Demenkova October 22, 2008Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
From the series “Territory of Broken Dreams” 2007
Alexandra Demenkova (b.1980, Russia) graduated from the Herzen State Pedagogical University with a degree in Foreign Languages. She has been a documentary photographer since 2004 and worked with Interpress Photo Agency (2003) and the New Eurasia Foundation (2006, 2007) and currently works with Agency Photographer.ru. Alexandra was awarded Best Photo Correspondent of the Year (St. Petersburg, 2004-2006) and was a the finalist of Descubrimientos, PhotoEspana in 2007. Alexandra was part of the World Press Photo Masterclass in 2007 and was chosen as an artist in residence with Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunstenin in 2008. She participated in exhibitions and festivals in Russia, Kazakhstan, UK, Finland, Poland, Turkey and Spain.
About the Photograph:
“This photo was taken in Shuvaevo, about 300 km northeast of Moscow. For many inhabitants of big cities in Russia, the rest of the country simply doesn’t exist. Yet you don’t have to go far from Moscow or Saint Petersburg to find dying villages, where people live in a state of extreme deprivation with abandoned old people who have spent their lives working on collective farms; middle-aged men and women who have no jobs, rarely young people or children. Villages that used to be thriving, with shops, libraries and clubs, now number only a handful of occupied houses. There is no community spirit or social life. Instead of a bucolic rural life, there is despair, alcohol abuse, crime and solitude. This is a phenomenon of life in Russia, villages that have disappeared in a country which used to be an agricultural one. Skachok, a man who lives alone and is an alcoholic, is going to drink a cup of substitute vodka, which costs 17 rubles per half liter, less than one US dollar.