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Passport

Alexander Chekmenev

Dewi Lewis Publishing

Shortlisted for the Arles Author Book Award 2017

Publication date : 2017/01/19
Weight 794 g / Dimensions 22.5 x 30 cm / 156 pages / en
ISBN 9781911306061

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became necessary for the newly independent Ukraine to replace the old Soviet passports with new Ukrainian ones in the shortest possible time frame. Thus every Ukrainian had to get a new passport within the year. In 1994, social services in Lugansk, a city in south-western Ukraine, recruited photographers to take free I.D. photos of the elderly, sick or infirm citizens who couldn’t afford to pay for them.

The Ukrainian photographer Alexander Chekmenev was one of those who accepted the mission of going door to door during this passport-nationalization campaign. He accompanied social-service staffers whose job was to provide those needy people with free medicine and groceries. It created an impressive body of work about rural Ukraine and its hardships, one that is reminiscent of Mikhailov’s documentation of people living on the fringes of society.

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