Back in Belarus

tusovkiI’ve been in Belarus for almost a couple of weeks now. Most of the time has been spent catching up with family and friends, not doing much photography, but I am making some “grand plans”, so to say. It’s fascinating to be back here. So much changes over the years; especially if I think back to the time when my family left Belarus, shortly after the break-up of the USSR. These days the center of Minsk, the capital of Belarus is not so different from centers of cities in the “Western” world. There are restaurants with foreign foods, expensive cars on the roads and all sorts of “super” and “hyper” markets, where unlike in the past the check-out-ladies say “Thank you for your purchase”. There’s even a futuristic looking railway station, albeit futuristic only on the outside.

But, in many ways Minsk is a time-capsule. Step away from the center into what’s called the “micro-suburbs” – neighborhoods with blocks of high-rise apartment buildings, where most of the population lives, and you’ll see the Minsk of 20 years ago.

In the the streets of the “micro-suburbs”, children still play the same games that they played when I was a kid, old grannies still seat on benches and gossip about their neighbors, groups of youth still hang out the front of the “pod’yezd” (entrances to the high-rise apartment buildings) and there are occasional drunks stumbling around the streets and pissing in elevators. Oh, the memories.

In all honesty though, there is a great vibe here during summer time and I’m glad to catch at least the end of it. I’m writing this entry from my grandmother’s house, about 30km outside of Minsk. She’s a fascinating and wacky character and I’m making a little film about her with the new 5D MKII.

Oh, almost forgot to mention. I’m now connected to a mobile internet, courtesy of my new, awesome cousin-in-law. So, I will try not to disappear for too long, as long as there’s coverage, I should be able to get online.

The light eBook is also coming very soon, but meanwhile check out the wonderful David duChemin’s eBook on 10 ways to improve your craft.

Above is an image of modern youth, hanging out by the leftover relics of communism.