Vinietka (Ukrainian graduation album)

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Vinietka (Ukrainian graduation album) is a collaborative project that reveals the touching and gloomy reality of school life in Ukraine.

The project was shoot at typical Kiev school on the outskirts of the capital and features young people who are either recent graduates or about to finish school.

The Graduation Album is an entirely unique phenomenon, emblematic of the culmination of school years. Ukrainian grads don’t wear gowns, and they don’t throw caps into the air. Nevertheless a lot of preparation goes into Vinietka — investing in a photographer, putting on the best make-up, donning the best outfits. Year after year, post-Soviet grads religiously follow Vinietka tradition.

A whole bag of stereotypical tricks is employed — from classic Vinietka poses, like “fresh grads gaze off into their future,” to holding hands or making heart shapes. Staple props and settings are loaded with meaning — a pile of books (classes have been conquered), a globe model (the world is your oyster) — and of course the stately symbol of school, the school bell!

In our Vinietka story, the tricks and cliches are reimagined, recycled for our “post-post-Soviet” age. We show the real graduates, their gawky, unpolished sides, the behind-the-scenes boozing and puppy love, the foolishness, the vulnerability, and the growing self-awareness, as they emerge from the stifling cocoon of their school years.

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