Once there lived… 


"The most important thing in life is to be prejudiced when making any sort of judgment. The crowd is commonly known to be usually mistaken, whereas each person individually is always right," the French writer, poet and musician Boris Vian wrote. His signature irony plays with the familiar contradiction of the individual and group, which, after Vian, I would like to consider using the visual language instead of the written one.


Human sight is designed in a way that we primarily pay attention to something we believe to be important and topical at that moment - the rest automatically becomes a visual noise, a background for the central figure. In this case the camera perfectly copes with its function of the surrounding content filter, because it is precisely the author who decides what to direct the lens at, and what - to let float free in "foam of the daze." What, like a fly in amber, to put into a timeless frame. To photograph is to make someone's existence possible. But at the same time, any "I" inevitably becomes a part of a much larger panorama. An endless story about those very "people we see on the trolleybus” whose faces each of us so diligently learns not to notice throughout one’s life course.


The project "Once there lived..." presents an attempt to remove the lens frame, to unlearn the skill of "unseeing." This is an experiment on fixing the reality flow in a way it is routinely, boringly and impersonally stands in front of us. The Crowd of crowds song, perceived as a color cacophony without distinct motifs, deprived of heroes and plots. But at the same time, I do not want to remain at the level of hovering in the impersonal: my task is to set in motion ("Camera! Action!") the whole world bubbling in a typical city square, let it move even inside a shot. The world consists of a mass of details each worthy a particular gaze: here everyone is a hero, everyone is interesting and right, everyone is unique. "Once there lived..." is assembled in a way which enables the viewer to individually gain his or her totally new personal experience of looking, to deconstruct the visual noise, to single out, as if in a sheet music, the imaginary destinies and stories.


Book's Prize:

Photobookfest (Moscow), 2018

SIPF Dummy Awards (Singapore International Photography Festival), 2018


Size: 288 х 150 (150 х150),

56 pages

Circulation: 10 copies, dummy edition

Photographer: Olga Titova

Designer: Katya Sunnikova

Polako Publishing,  2018