Kiev Soviet-Era Camera

Relationship: Im/migrant
The front of the camera.
The front of the camera.

I don't have a single photograph of my great-grandparents, but I have photographs of my great-great grandparents. I found this so interesting, and so did my grandfather. Sadly his parents passed away before he could take a picture to remember them by. 

He wanted to change that. He tirelessly wanted a camera, and his wish came true. This was the first camera that he had obtained; it was a gift from the director of the factory that he worked at. This simple piece of machinery, which still works today, allowed my grandpa to document true home moments. From taking pictures of my mom and her sister as children to taking pictures of me coming home from the hospital after my mom gave birth to me, this camera has seen it all. It's followed my family through its rare vacation and illegal adventures in the Soviet Union. The memories are limited, which adds to the meaning. The difficulty to take pictures only encourages the photographer to perfect them. Deep in the back of the closet, sit boxes of undeveloped film that every so often my parents look at and remember the difficulty of their lives.  

The camera came with us to the U.S. since my parents couldn't afford a digital camera. They took film pictures and developed them in order to illustrate their new life in America and send back to their friends and family in Ukraine. Just as this camera has followed my family into the unknown, I hope it follows me one day on my adventures. 

Place(s): Ukraine, Soviet Union
Year: 2001

– Tymur Kholodnyak

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant