Artists Portrait in Moscow – Eugenia Kokoreva

I met Eugenia in Moscow at Simon’s, where she was preparing her exhibition. We had no real way of talking – she speaks only a few words of German, and I only know one sentence in Russian: “I am a photographer from Berlin, may I photograph you?”. No great help in a conversation.

Nontheless, we liked each other, and I knew right away that I’d like to photograph her for my series of women’s portraits in their homes. Simon translated, and Eugenia agreed, and two days later Daniel and I set in a cab, the paper with the adress written in Kyrillic letters firmly clasped in hand. We drove for a long time – everything in Moscow seems far apart –through grey periphery, and of course with absolutely no clue where we were.

All the better then, to arrive in a quiet street, patches of snow and birch trees here and there, at the Artist’s Commune. It’s a house specifically for artist, where they both live and have their studios, from back in the times of the USSR. Almost all of the people we met had been living there for over thirty years, some closer to fifty years. 

Eugenia was warm and welcoming, she showed me her studio and her paintings, and with the help of a tiny German dictionary even related some of the stories linked to her paintings: her stay in Israel, her family’s fate in the Holocaust, and the fact that the little girl standing next to her father in the snow, holding his hand, was herself as a child.

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