Russian Photographer Works to Find Her Father Through Salvaged Photos


All images used with permission from Natalya Reznik

Finding your family when you don’t know them is some serious detective work. Natalya Reznik last saw her father when she was super young. According to Reznik, her father was a Captain and would come and go for many weeks at a time. Her parents never lived together though. Eventually, her mother found out that he was cheating on her and even bore a child with another woman. Her parents were quickly divorced and in a fit of rage, her mother destroyed nearly all of the photos of her father.

Because of this, Natalya grew up for most of her life not knowing her father. And in her own personal investigation, she has gathered what’s left of the clues of who her father was.

Now here’s the weird part: if you go to Natalya’s website, there are no other photos from this project. A quick Google search though reveals that the images existed on Blurb, but they are now gone. Natalya states that the project is still an ongoing series. “I am planning to publish a book with these photos in the near future (I mean self-publish). As you can see I used pages from an old album of my mother and mixed real photos of her with the collages which I made by myself,” she states. More photos from the project as well as an artist statement from Natalya are after the jump.

Via Feature Shoot


From Natalya,

” I was always interested to meet my father. Last time i saw him when I was three years old. I decided to reflect this idea using photography. I do not remember how he looked like, I do not have any image of him in my memory, I rather try to «find» him by means of photography, to create  memories which i never had — memories about family with my father.”

“My mother was always dreaming of an ideal man. When we were watching movies of 60-70’s with french and italian actors (Belmondo, Delon, Mastroianni, Marais), she was always excited and often said to me, ‘I always liked that kind of man'”

“She met my father in Sochi, it was a «resort» roman, which soon ended up with a marriage. She did not know much of him, only that he was a captain and worked somewhere at North Russia. They never lived together. He usually came for a few weeks and then disappeared  At some point my mother found out that he has another wife and a child. She could never forgive him and soon they divorced.”

“In her albums there was almost no photo left of my father — not only she divorced with him, but also destroyed all the photos of him including those from the wedding day. However, I was able to find a few images from an old black and white passport photo machine. They were together on this shots, however one can not really see his face — images are quite small and he always wears «aviator» glasses. He looked like a young Belmondo. On these images they are kidding together, kissing each other and smile a lot. One of those photos I kept for my self (my mother never liked this and was trying to find out why I want to have his photo for a long time) and since then keep it in my wallet.”

“Really, what for do I need this photo? Sometimes I just want to look at it and imagine that my father, although i never met him, was as beautiful as Belmondo. On some occations I proudly show this photo to friends («My parents in ’70s»). Even if this photo never existed, I should have created it in Photoshop”.

“This project is very personal, somewhere in between documentary and fiction, where the dreams of my mother are real, but the memory, I created for myself based on them, is fictional.”

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Natalya was born in Russia in 1981, currently lives and works in Germany. She studied design at Perm State Technical University, got PhD in philosophy of culture in Saint- Petersburg State University. Then she studied photography in several summer photography schools and workshops (including Fotodepartament in Saint-Petersburg and International Summer School in Slovakia). Later she worked as a teacher of photography at Perm State Institute of Arts and Culture, Perm, Russia. 2011-currently she is a researcher at University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany) in history of art (research in the field of theory and history of photography).

Be sure to check out her other bodies of work.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.