Stories

The Roundel. Photo story about endless love

Leningrad Oblast

Russia

My grandmother’s name is Alla. Recently she talks to me about her future funerals: how she wants to be buried, what monument we should install. We should put in her hand a napkin with the roundel, which her husband gave to her many years ago, when they were young. Her photo is on the one side of the roundel, his on the other. He presented this lovely souvenir, when he went in the navy.

Grandmother buried him thirty years ago in Uzbekistan, left the place forever and never get married again. She wants exactly the same memorial on her grave as she chose for her husband. The memory and warm feelings for him are alive, and even her death she wants to connect with him.

I don’t remember my grandfather at all, we met only once. But owing to our talks with granny now I have my own memories of him, now I feel love and tenderness for him too like she does.

Working on this project I can’t help but start asking questions for myself: when does a person actually die? What does remain after someone’s death? At what moment does memory about a person transfer to collective memory and personalization decompose, dissolve in it?

Handwriting on the roundel: «1958. For memory from Sanya 1962». My grandfather did military service for four years
My grandmother eyesight is worsening. Now she can see only silhouettes
In the bedroom portraits of close family are hanging. Left to right: husband, mother and father. On the table there is a photo of great-granddaughter
My grandmother didn’t know what to do with her grief after the death of her husband. So she started to cut post-cards and pick together this handcrafted curtains. That way these curtains traveled with her for thirty years from Uzbekistan, through Saratov, so long as they appeared in Leningradskaya Oblast
My grandfather is smiling on the right. Archive photo. It was taken during his military service on Russkiy Island in Vladivostok
The other side of the roundel
My grandmother has many photos of family members, but in the bedroom only the closest
My grandmother loves to sped time on the balcony and look at the sea. When they were living in the Middle East she dreamed of living near the sea. Now her dream came true, almost twenty years she can see the Gulf of Finland from her window.
The first photo of my grandfather and grandmother. They weren’t even married at that time.
Grandmother always makes the bed very tidily and lay pillows like that. Her mother used to do it and now she makes her bed like that for the whole of her life

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Liubov Volkova

Liubov Volkova is a photographer from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, was born in 1988. In 2020 she decided to explore her interests in photography and storytelling more deeply and started to study photography in the academy of art and documentary photography “Fotografika” in Saint-Petersburg. She studies theme of family, identity, connection to the place.

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