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Viktor Marushchenko, photographer, teacher

"In Soviet times, apartments were mainly communal: they belonged to the city or were departmental. Our house was on the balance of the aircraft plant, and every three years, special crews from the plant made high-quality renovations for free. Our neighbors were pilots and engineers. Now there is no one: these people or their children sold their apartments and left. My parents died, and I inherited this apartment, then my children will live here. Although buildings spoiled the center, I was never going to change my apartment and move to another area. And where else can you live in Kyiv?

My parents lived in Kyiv before the war. And my father worked as an aeronautical engineer at the plant (now the Antonov Plant). During the war, the plant workers were evacuated to Novosybirsk, where I was born, and in 1951 we returned to Kyiv. At first, we lived in Sviatoshyn. A year later, as the deputy director of the plant, my father got an apartment on Gonchara Street. I have been living there for 68 years.

During my childhood, there were many Yiddish-speaking Jewish women on Gonchara Street.

As the Jewish market (Evbaza) was located nearby, on Peremohy Avenue, the concentration of Jews in this area was high. All Jews then lived in communal housing in the center, and the working class, including workers involved in the construction of the city, was settled in the new neighborhoods such as Nyvky.

I went to school No. 91. With my friends, I ran to the construction of the Sinny Market to "knock" - have fights and disputes. And then, the construction work was completed. The Second tram was launched, which took the villagers from the railway station to Lvivska Square to the market, where they sold their food. They could spend the night in a small hotel near the market because from Friday to Sunday, the market lived an active life, and on Sunday afternoon, it became half-empty - the villagers returned home.

When I was young, everyone in the area knew each other. There were few people, almost no public transport, mostly company cars. Possesing your own car meant luxury.

Khreshchatyk was a gathering place for young people. We called it "Brod," "Khrest." And the Philharmonic was a place for cultural evenings.

On Khreshchatyk, we went to cafes and picked up girls. The walking road continued from the European Square to Besarabka. We did not go further. We also brought together at home: everyone was waiting for someone's house to be vacated when their parents would go out of town or on a business trip. We mainly drank alcohol. It was a shame to be a drug addict. You would be pointed fingers- it was a prerogative of crime or poor people. There were terrible fights between district groups. They fought for influence: Stalinka (Holosiivskyi) against Shota, Cholokolovka against Nyvky.

Your clothes demonstrated your belonging to a social group. Appearance then served as a business card, and clothes were a feature. The young residents of the capital were oriented to the West, well-read, cultured, read foreign literature, and dressed in imported clothes. They had connections and went to Kosiv to buy cheap American clothes that the Ukrainian diaspora sent to Ukraine.

Those were the times of poverty, and we didn't know then that there was a better life somewhere because it was impossible to communicate with foreigners. Once, I met a couple of foreigners at an exhibition, we talked and became friends. Then I was summoned for interrogation. We caught a spy, and he has your phone number - explain where you got contacts. And then this couple sent me a book about yoga, which I was doing at the time. At customs, all textual ideological part was cut out. I got the book only with pictures.

It is difficult to say what Kyiv has lost over the years because everything is changing. The Europeans somehow managed to preserve the historical part - we could not. After all, we live differently, and I don't know how to preserve it.

I lack memories of Kyiv. Overpopulation is now prevailing in the world. And it is difficult for the city to keep its identity because there is a large migration of people.

For example, previously, it was impossible to move to Kyiv. Nobody would hire you without a residence permit. You could marry a local girl to register. It was an option.

In 2004 I opened my photo school, the second photo school during independent Ukraine. We are 15 years old today, and during all this time, we have graduated more than one and a half thousand students. MY WIFE then influenced me: "Are you going to walk like an old dude with a camera?" I began to study this topic, teaching methods.

For me, school is an image and volunteer work. Here we retransmit things that happen in the world of photography and that we know about.

We follow the American teaching method, according to which photography is a tool for expression. It helps you tell a story. It's just important to find your topic.

If you are interested in Kyiv at that time, you can pick up the archives of works by Boris Gradov, Irina Pap, Volodya Falin. There are now a lot of photo sketches on the theme of color or light in street photography, but the idea of ​​place and time is lost. If I were filming Kyiv today, I would be filming the chaotic construction of the city, which, in my opinion, has become its modern face. At the photo school, we have published a separate issue of our photo magazine "5.6", dedicated to this topic."

Viktor Marushchenko, founder of the Viktor Marushchenko‘s School of Photography


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