The heroes of this section are inconspicuous. But we propose to shift our gaze to the periphery of the frame — to that place where witnesses, gawkers or, in village-speak “pozoryane” [those who come to a wedding to observe it] position themselves. Here the photographer is shooting a portrait. And in the background a range of feelings is etched on the faces of the subject’s peers: one examines the photographer, one withdraws into himself, one does not take his eyes from the subject.
The photographer takes a picture of newlyweds by a birch tree, and in this moment an omnipresent boy is climbing over the fence, disrupting the solemnity of the moment. The photographer captures the first marital kiss after the registration of the marriage, but the parents and witnesses are also caught in the shot, their lips forming a kiss in shared experience with the young couple.
The shot of a final farewell at home for the departed records the complex scenography of relationships. From the window behind the scene observes a woman who has remained behind to wash the floors in the home — as funeral ritual prescribes. And next to the sobbing relatives stands a neighbor examining the deceased with fondness.
From under the arm of the elder brother, from behind the doors of the wedding feast, from behind the sheet that has been spread out as a backdrop, appear those for whom the events taking place are almost as important as for the main heroes. After all, in the center are their interests, their values, their imagined future or past. Without an audience there is no concert, without witnesses there can be no wedding, without gawkers it’s not an event.
Inna Veselova, Svetlana Adonyeva
Translation by Laura Olson Osterman, Jessika Aguilar, Alexandra Aleynik