600 Quadratmeter Glück

Die Datscha

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Photographs by Evgeny Makarov
Text by Lew Rubinstein
Translated by Rosemarie Tietze

23.6 x 27 cm
ca. 148 Pages

May 2017

ISBN 978-3-944874-63-0 (German)

/ Die Datscha – Russischer Mythos und gelebte Wirklichkeit

/ Eine besondere Welt: einfühlsam, ehrlich, hochlebendig

In the summer of 2015 the photographer Evgeny Makarov traveled to Orekhovo, a settlement in the Leningrad Oblast near St. Petersburg. It is where he spent the summers of his childhood at the dacha of his grandparents. “After losing my connection to it at some point in adulthood, I always wanted to return and see how it is there now and whether it still corresponds to the picture from my childhood,” according to Makarov. In sensitive and at the same time relentlessly truthful photographs, he carries us away to the world of Russia’s summer and weekend houses and shows us that the dacha is not a Russian myth, but instead a day-to-day reality.

The original meaning of the word dacha comes from the eighteenth century and was a “gift of land allocated by the Tsar.” Over time—after the October Revolution and in the course of the urbanization of the twentieth century—the dacha increasingly became a symbol of freedom for the common man, since, “in the times of the Soviet Union, when life was particularly strictly standardized,” a plot of land with a dacha was an “informal place of to retreat, where other rules applied.” The size of a dacha was uniformly regulated in the nineteen-nineties and comprised 600 m2 of land. Until today, more than three quarters of Russian city dwellers escape to their small oases of recreation on the edge of the city on weekends from May to October. The dacha is “until today an oasis of tranquility in social life—and it will also remain that way,” says Makarov. And invites us with his photographs into this integral part of the Russian lifestyle.

EVGENY MAKAROV (*1984) was born in St. Petersburg and emigrated with his parents to Hamburg in 1992. After studying sociology in Hamburg, he then studied at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. He was invited to participate in the World Press Photo masterclass in 2015. He is represented by the Focus Photo Agency.