Why these unsettling '90s Ukrainian passport photos are more relevant than ever

5/19/2022 8:15:00 AM

In a newly independent Ukraine in the mid '90s, photographer Alexander Chekmenev took on a strange assignment when he was tasked with taking the passport photos of some of the country's elderly and most vunerable.

Arts, Why These Unsettling İmages Of Passport Photoshoots İn 1990S Ukraine Are Relevant Today - Cnn

In a newly independent Ukraine in the mid '90s, photographer Alexander Chekmenev took on a strange assignment when he was tasked with taking the passport photos of some of the country's elderly and most vulnerable.

In a newly independent Ukraine in the mid '90s, photographer Alexander Chekmenev took on a strange assignment when he was tasked with taking the passport photos of some of the country's elderly and most vunerable.

during the mid-1990s, an elderly woman casts her eyes away from the camera, her mouth pursed with tension. Another woman, gray hair braided across her head, holds the subject's face firmly, one hand cupping her jaw, the other behind her neck. A white backdrop is up by someone just out of frame. A sense of unease and strangeness fills the composition.

From 1994 to 1995, only a few years after Ukraine's population voted for independencein a referendum, photographer Alexander Chekmenev took many photos like these, of people in their homes, in the eastern city of Luhansk. He had been given a peculiar and difficult task: to go door-to-door and take passport photos of the city's most vulnerable residents.

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Ukraine during the mid-1990s, an elderly woman casts her eyes away from the camera, her mouth pursed with tension.The Cannes Film Festival is fast approaching.Published: May.Joanna Hiatt Kim “Dear PoPville, I had a nice conversation with a woman while we were both waiting to get our passport photos taken at the Eastern Market post office .

Another woman, gray hair braided across her head, holds the subject's face firmly, one hand cupping her jaw, the other behind her neck. A white backdrop is up by someone just out of frame. Of course, Cannes has always been a magnet for the biggest names in Hollywood, so the French Riviera festival naturally sees some major style moments. A sense of unease and strangeness fills the composition. By Jenna Wise | jwise@pennlive. From 1994 to 1995, only a few years after Ukraine's population voted for independence in a referendum, photographer Alexander Chekmenev took many photos like these, of people in their homes, in the eastern city of Luhansk. Below, the most unforgettable ’90s moments from the Cannes Film Festival. He had been given a peculiar and difficult task: to go door-to-door and take passport photos of the city's most vulnerable residents. Note: If this is you, please email [email protected] so I can put you in touch with OP.

Photographer Alexander Chekmenev Ukraine Kiev WWW. Forecasters said Tuesday will be sunny and 75, with a chance of up to 30 mph wind gusts.CHEKMENEV.NET Credit: Alexander Chekmenev The assignment was part of the former Soviet state's rushed goal of issuing new passports to all residents within a year -- though, in reality, it took many years, according to Chekmenev. Social services in different cities employed photographers to help speed up the process. Forecasters said showers are likely to last until about noon Thursday. Discarded photo negatives show China in an era of change With little pay, Chekmenev found himself in the homes of Luhansk's neglected elderly and infirm residents, taking portraits of each person against a portable white backdrop held up by family members or social workers.

The cropped passport images belied the full, uneasy scenes: lonely seniors, often living in poor conditions, propped up or posing for the camera. Many did not have basic necessities, like running water or gas, in their homes.m. Those residents had lived through the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, and were left forgotten in its collapse, according to the photographer. "The limited frame of a passport photo is like a TV box in Soviet times: propaganda of a happy lifestyle within the allowed limits," Chekmenev said from Kyiv, where he is based, in an email interview translated from Russian."Behind the corners of the passport and behind the square of a white background, the true reality, without retouching and censorship, was hidden. Forecasters said temperatures could take a plunge into the upper 70s.

" Photographer Alexander Chekmenev Ukraine Kiev WWW.CHEKMENEV.NET Credit: Alexander Chekmenev Many of the residents were unwilling to have their images taken, and some were near death. Wednesday Cloudy, with a high near 72."There were people who cried and asked not to torture them with photography and not to interfere with their peaceful death," Chekmenev said."That was the hardest thing for me, psychologically.

" Ukrainian cultural landmarks suffer fresh blows as another museum is hit Chekmenev recalled that one man had a coffin in his home, awaiting his own death. Thursday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 80. Every time he finished a bottle of vodka, he would place it in the coffin, lining them up until it was full. Upon filling the coffin, he would then decide it was not yet his time to die and would began anew, he told the photographer. The social workers did not permit Chekmenev to photograph his subject in that room. Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Altogether, Chekmenev took several hundred passport photos, as well as 36 color behind-the-scenes images for posterity.

In 2017, he published them as a book, titled"Passport," with Dewi Lewis Publishing in London. Photographer Alexander Chekmenev Ukraine Kiev WWW. Disclaimer.CHEKMENEV.NET Credit: .