A bunch of teenagers turn up on Ukrainian collective GORDAD’s doorstep, leading to the latest series of misfits and misunderstood
With Vladimir Putin leaving the G20 summit early this week after reports the Russian president copped some (much deserved) flack from other world leaders – here’s looking at you, Obama – and essentially realised that no one really wants to hang out with him, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to showcase Ukrainian photography collective GORSAD’s Boys Don’t Cry. Putin has certainly fuelled creative fires around both the Ukraine and Russia, allowing for fertile ground to garner ideas, momentum and of course, controversy. But there’s no denying that the country’s uneasy political climate has been a thorn in GORSAD’s – and other artists’ – side. “We publish mainly abroad,” the collective explain. “Therefore, there is no problem with the lack of understanding.”
Their latest series is a goofy collection of shots that illustrates a group of teen boys (and girls) hanging around the collective’s white-walled studio, who, after turning up in the middle of the night, stayed on for another three days. “Several of these boys just do not spend the night at home, instead, hanging around in the city, drinking Revo with brandy. They came to us drunk at 4am, knocking on the door. But after we opened it they were left to spend the night with us for another three days,” says GORSAD, before adding, “Children are really difficult.”
Could you tell us about the new series Boys Don't Cry?
GORSAD: This is a story about a young age. About a period when you do not care. When all is possible. About petty pranks. About dreams, about carelessness. When you are not afraid to desire and to do. Do not think about the consequences.
“Every country has the percentage of teenagers who go against the conventional. They challenge society by their behavior. This is not necessarily children of poor families. It’s just teenagers. The first experiments, the first mistakes” – GORSAD
Who are the kids featured?
GORSAD: These are completely different guys from different families and different statuses. But each of them is unique. They are young, brash and full of energy. They do not care. This is what unites them.
The kids seem really young, yet they're smoking, staying out all night and drinking – why do you think this is?
GORSAD: Every country has the percentage of teenagers who go against the conventional. They challenge society by their behavior. This is not necessarily children of poor families. It’s just teenagers. The first experiments, the first mistakes.
Do you usually work within a narrative or do you just take photos as you see them, in the moment?
GORSAD: It happens in different ways. Sometimes it's a complete thematic project, sometimes not. There are separate, but so eloquent pictures of different series, which complement each other in mood, thereby forming a new story.
You’re from the Ukraine – how is your work viewed there?
GORSAD: In our country many people do not understand what we do. Thank God, there are the small percentage that are able to look at things smarter and more progressively.
Is there anything you have to be politically aware of when publishing or creating your work?
GORSAD: Regarding publications - we publish mainly abroad. Therefore, there is no problem with the lack of understanding.
What other Ukrainian artists or photographers are inspiring you?
GORSAD: You know, we have a lot of good talented guys, but rather we are inspired not by artists but by the interesting characters that we meet.
For more from GORSAD, click here