UNIQUE Soviet DACHAS as you’ve never seen them before! (PICTURES)
Photographer Fyodor Savintsev has chronicled masterpieces of rural folk architecture in Russia.
Established photographer Fyodor Savintsev, whose work has been published by major international magazines and newspapers, has discovered a new fascination, the Soviet dacha, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The ‘Kratovo Dachas’ project [named after the Kratovo suburban settlement near Moscow] started when I returned to my parents to support them during the pandemic and I kind of started doing a documentary project about the old dachas on the outskirts of Moscow, ”says Fyodor Savintsev.
The photographer was fascinated by the vernacular architecture of Soviet dachas: the people who built them years ago relied on their vision, not on traditional academic tradition or professional architectural advice. The result was a unique popular aesthetic, which Savintsev aimed to capture with his camera, often as if his subjects were in motion.
“I have become an archivist who collects information, documents. It is clear that I cannot do everything on my own. In theory, this should be done by architectural professionals. But I created a fascinating trend that spread to different cities. I see a growing interest in the historical study of dacha culture ”, Savintsev noted in a previous interview.
The process of transitioning from human subjects to stationary objects in his photograph was fluid.
“In my career, human subjects have prevailed over architecture. But, I look at the houses through the form of a portrait. I do portraits of houses, ”says Savintsev.
The photographer approached the task of finding new subjects methodically. He visited every street in the settlement identifying topics of interest and also looked for owners or people who knew the history of the houses, so he could share their stories with the pictures as well.
Finding some of the owners was a difficult task, and Savintsev turned to his large Instagram audience for help, asking if anyone knew the story of a particular house or its owners.
“Instagram is a media tool that not only allows me to share posts with my audience, but also to make meaningful connections and allow people to contact me directly. These stories happened a number of times when owners got in touch because a post had been passed to them through a third party and they decided they were interested in talking to me, ”the photographer explains. .
For the documentary photographer, whose primary research method is interpersonal communication, access is of paramount importance. Thus, all the images linked to the “Kratovo Dachas” project were photographed using an iPhone to gain maximum access to the subjects.
“We live in a time when people are morbidly uncomfortable when they see professional material and think it violates their private boundaries. The iPhone does not cause such a reaction, ”says Savintsev.
Savintsev is currently involved in the restoration of five houses. He says he also plans to create a fund (or some other form of organization) that would systematically address the restoration of unique private dachas.
“I would formulate the task [of the future fund] like this: preserve the architectural heritage of wooden architecture, or even, one might say, of individual housing. The state does not allocate funds for the maintenance of objects belonging to individuals. People cannot provide these homes with the care they need, and as a result, these homes are simply lost. And they are of interest, in my opinion, from the point of view of our cultural heritage, even though they are privately owned. Thus, the idea of the foundation is to help private properties, including the restoration of houses, so that they retain their appearance ”, said Savintsev.
Click here to see photos of a dying Soviet civilization (PHOTOS).
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