Another Family is a project by photographer, and S4C Russia member, Irina Popova. It is about a difficult punk family with a little daughter. The book needs help to get published and after talking about it with Irina over the last few days, we decided to support it because it is a strong and emotional story and because it raises important issues. One of which is about the moral obligation of a photographer that witness a difficult situation. Has she/he the duty to intervene and change it? Which is the threshold?
Have a look at the video, read the story and consider supporting it. It’s important.
The presumption of innocence
(by Irina Popova)
This story started in 2008 when i got an assignment to make a project about FEELINGS.
I was wandering through the streets of St petesburg at night and there I met Lilya, a punk girl, who was completely drunk. She was pushing a baby carriage with her little daughter inside. I asked if I could take a photo and ended up at their small messy room in a communal flat, where her boyfriend and a few other people partied for many days non stop. Their two-year old girl was crawling all around. I stayed there for a considerable period of time, documenting their life and concentrating my attention on the world of the little girl. I became more or less part of their life. That’s why the story became very personal like a diary. I was proposed to make an exhibition in St. Petersburg, they came to the opening as well. The next day the publication with the photos became viral on the internet. The parents were accused of abuse, and criminal investigation has started. I refused to be a witness in the case.
The story raised several important questions. Should a photographer be only a witness to what is happening in front of his lens, or does he have a moral obligation to change the situation? I continue to visit the family and watch the girl grow older. Two years later, the girl was still living with her father, while the mother had completely disappeared from their life. This story had a great impact on me as a photographer and a person.
Besides the pictures I collected different materials related to this story, letters, comments from the internet and personal diaries. I used these materials in a book. Publisher Maarten Schilt was inspired by the story and decided to publish a book. Together with a graphic designer Victor Levi we worked on the book for almost two years. Now the book is ready for print. It will be a beautiful full-color 200 page book with a hardcover. In order to make this publication a reality I need your financial support.
Extracts from book Another Family
02. IRINA POPOVA
LILYA AND PASHA
“OBJECTIVE REALITY” ONLINE WORKSHOPS ON PHOTOGRAPHYJuly 17, 2008 at 01:19
I met Pasha and Lilya the day after getting the assignment for the project. You could say that I got lucky. Last year I shot a similar couple that kept their child in the basement. I met Lilya near Gostini Dvor late at night. She was totally drunk and pushing a baby stroller. I asked to take a picture of her. The truth is I found her stunningly beautiful even despite her condition. Like a freak girl from Nirvana’s videos. She sprawled out in the middle of the road, shouting and singing. “You haven’t seen my Pashechka yet,” she says. “He’s such a beauty, so sweet, and his hair is totally red and spiky, like a dandelion. Come to our place, he’s probably already home unless he got picked up by the police on the way.” And I went. And ended up staying for a week.
2. From the diaries:
“…It seems like Lilya and Pasha’s world has expanded to the size of the whole Cosmos and devours me and everything around. All around there’s darkness, well-shaped yards, junkies, alcoholics and bums. And we have to find our way through all of this. I accept Lilya as my guide in this underground kingdom. She is also my defender.