Features (not including available for Russia and CIS only)

Balaklava: Lost History

Oksana Yushko

Published on 19/10/11

© Oksana Yushko

Bal­ak­lava is a small town on the sea in the Crimea Pen­in­sula. Dur­ing the Soviet era it was a city that didn’t exist to the out­side world. The town was closed to the pub­lic for more than 30 years on account of the sub­mar­ine base that was situ­ated there.
Almost the entire pop­u­la­tion of Bal­ak­lava worked at the base, and even fam­ily mem­bers could not visit the town without a good reason or proper iden­ti­fic­a­tion. I began shoot­ing my story there, watch­ing the people around me and try­ing to under­stand their past. My ques­tions remained unanswered. I encountered secrets, legends, fam­ily stor­ies: everything but the truth. You might not see mil­it­ary guards on every corner, but you can feel their pres­ence, espe­cially when you start talk­ing to people. Under­ground sub­mar­ines, spies, ghosts… I was stand­ing on the brink of their memor­ies, but their lives remained impen­et­rable. The Soviet Union hasn’t exis­ted for 20 years, but the shadow of it lies every­where. Things have changed, but the people’s minds and atti­tudes have not.

I was lucky to find some inter­est­ing people there, I caught some beau­ti­ful moments, yet when I came back to Moscow, I dis­covered that most of my pic­tures were gone. No kid­ding. They’ve dis­ap­peared. Some­thing happened to my com­puter. I was in a panic. But isn’t that a great start for the pro­ject about a lost his­tory? I came back there in some months, and that time I was luck­ier. Moreover I found the town covered in a fog, it looked like even nature didn’t want me to see what was hap­pen­ing there. So, my story is not fin­ished yet. I want to keep fol­low­ing the memor­ies of this place…

Share on Twitter

Highslide for Wordpress Plugin
salt images - photo agency