Nothing special, Kirovograd.

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– Why are you here?  
– Tourism, I’m visiting the city.  
– Kirovograd? Odessa, Kiev are nice, Lviv too. Kirovograd nie…

Shooting pictures close to a bridge, which was somehow “strategic”, aroused the military guard suspicions. He checked my I.D., and was very surprised that Kirovograd -“a deep provincial city” could have any interest, “here there is nothing special”. I decided to ask inhabitants if they have “something special” to say, any wishes, anything they like or dislike.   

   Luda, former hairdresser in the army – her husband was wounded in the Afghanistan war – confided to me that she would like to get a decent retired pension so that she wouldn’t have to work illegally. After a few pieces of dry fish prepared at her dacha, she said that the Soviet monuments of the 80’s shouldn’t be demolished, because they are “part of our history”. 
   Sergei, a young student has a friend who works in Spain. For himself, he imagines a future in Germany, working in a car factory. 
   A professor of history and fan of “The Doors” wishes that the cultural possibilities in town will increase, while Helen expects some future partnerships with Europe so that people will get more involved in the life of the city. 
   Dima, a theatre director, loves his “mother-land” Kirovograd, but from time to time he has to work in Kiev where he has more opportunities. Natacha’s mother-land is Uzbekistan, but her parents come from Siberia. Through the windows of the bus she showed me a huge building that should have been an opera but was transformed into a shopping center with a cinema, because of the lack of public funds. Later she told me about the beautiful spring and the wonderful juicy fruit of the Uzbek summer time. Does she like to live in Kirovograd? “Of course…”  

Meeting after meeting I had the feeling that all the people I met looked at the past sometimes with nostalgia but never with regret. They paid attention to the economic and political changes, as well as to the social transformations and wondered about social solidarity in one of the poorest regions of Ukraine (Kirovograd Oblast).   
   In this series, I added to my own photos, some photos archives of a Kirovograd family in order to suggest that a page was turned, but also to bring into question the future of social links in a provincial city of a former soviet country.

 

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