Days of melancholy - PhMuseum

Days of melancholy

Tatiana Vinogradova

2014 - Ongoing

Russia

This series of portraits is focused on the life of gay people in Russia. It is a visual tale of melancholy, loneliness and uncertainty about the future.

In Russia the level of intolerance toward homosexuality has been rising sharply. A 2013 survey found that 74% of Russians said homosexuality should not be accepted by society. 16% of Russians surveyed said that gay people should be isolated from society, 22% said they should be forced to undergo treatment, and 5% said homosexuals should be “liquidated". In June 2013 the national parliament unanimously adopted a nationwide law banning "propaganda” - the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Under the statute it is effectively illegal to hold any gay pride events, speak in defense of gay rights, or say that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships.

This reality has driven the gay community underground, to the shadows. In Russia only 1% of the gay population dares to live openly. That is why the general mood in my work is dark and melancholic. The visual concept mirrors the idea that being gay in Russia is not a rainbow colored life. In our country rainbows have some very somber shades.

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  • Sasha, 22 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “I am the only son of my parents. If I tell them that I am gay, I will get nothing for myself, but they will be absolutely devastated. All sense of their life... just bang! … it will get rotten.”

  • Pavel, 44 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “My mother's reaction was “it is a teenage thing, you’ll grow out of it, you simply haven't met the right girl yet.” The most ridiculous thing is I was already 26.”

  • Georgiy, 22 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “One of the reasons for moving to St. Petersburg is a desire to live openly in a big city. If you had asked me before moving if I was gay — I would have said "no".

  • Ivan, 24 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia.“The meaning of life is to live your own life. Not someone else's, not illusory, but full. To breathe with two lungs instead of one and say “I don’t need my second lung.”

  • Anton, 20 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. Anton says: "Heterosexuality is the right thing, everything else is not. I hope I'm not gay forever."

  • Sergey, 23 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “I realized that I'm gay when I fell in love with my best friend in my freshman year.”

  • Sasha, 26 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “My grandfather was a very clever and acute person. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old, I don't remember, but once he asked me directly "Are you gay? " I answered like "What’s a gay?"

  • Maxim, 28 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “Sometime later my mom confessed: “Every day I lived with the thought that my son was gay and I was looking for any excuse to make a scene. Then I imagined how during an argument I was taking an axe and cutting your head off. I really wanted it.”

  • Sergey, 33 years old, poses for a portrait at his friend's apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia.
    “I used to go to a Baptist church for 5 years. I used to be a Sunday school teacher, teaching children the Bible. I sang in the Church choir. After coming out as gay I was expelled from the church.”

  • Anatoly, 23 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “I’ve been walking alone since I was 7. There is a river called Volkovka near my house where the railroad and garages are. Before there were thickets instead of garages and I just went to these thickets until the end of the day. There were no people, people are an aggression.”

  • Oleg, 27 years old, poses for a portrait at his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. “Remember the magazine Rovesnik? Every month me and my mom went to Soyuzpechat* kiosk. And once Brad Pitt was on the cover. Actually, I don't like Brad Pitt... Anyway, mom bought me the magazine, and I took and kissed the cover for some reason. I can't explain why I did it. But mom was perplexed.” *Soyuzpechat is a network of press kiosks existing in USSR.


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