Ira Lupu

Vintage Charm: Three Female Photographers Capture the Beauty of Odessa

IRA LUPU
Calvert Journal UK
December 2015

“There is a city I see in a dream…” Soviet singer Leonid Utyosov used to sing, nostalgically alluding to his native Odessa. For Utyosov, as for thousands of other locals, this weirdly charming Ukrainian port city was to be left behind forever — and be deeply missed. The same happened with model Rita Karachinskaya: in 2014, after a series of explosions in Odessa, she decided to emigrate. “I’ll never forget the day I left,” says Karachinskaya. “When passing by Odessa Russian Theatre, I felt this bitter lump in the throat and burst into tears.” Abroad, Karachinskaya longed for Odessa very much: its shabby architecture, the often comically luxurious outfits worn by southern women, and the nourishing, homey cuisine. Set in a typically old local sanatorium (called, of course, “Odessa”), female photographic trio — Anastasiya Lazurenko, Daria Svertilova and Kristina Podobed — recreated their friend’s nostalgic dreams. The artists, who individually work with analogue photography and are known internationally, found a way to combine their varied signature styles: Lazurenko’s natural and erotic, Svertilova’s pristine and sensitively harmonic, Podobed’s bold and a bit kinky. “Sitting in the Soviet-style canteen and enjoying cheap condensed milk, at the same time as sipping champagne and wearing excessive jewellery… It was so me,” Karachinskaya recalls. ”So me — and so Odessa.”

 
Photos by Kristina Podobed, Daria Svertilova, Anastasiya Lazurenko