Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield

Soviet Ghosts by Rebecca Litchfield 9

Struck by the extent of abandonment in the former Soviet Union and its satellite states in the former Eastern Bloc, photographer Rebecca Litchfield sensitively and beautifully records many abandoned locations within 13 countries which were once part of the Soviet Union or occupied. Including forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums and death camps.

The former USSR with the fall of a Communist empire, places now lie derelict, uninhabited, broken shells of a forgotten time. The collapse of the Soviet Union left haunting memories of ordinary people who once lived and worked there. Rebecca’s work shines a light on a society shrouded by the cold war, offering a touching document of the daily lives of the Soviet people.

Whilst some may look at the decay in these places as simply reflecting the destruction of the Soviet Union and the moral bankruptcy of a flawed ideological system. In reality they will cease to exist very soon and as the memories fade, these places and the communities who once gave life will be forgotten and deserve to be recorded for posterity too. This book documents the strange interval caught between modernity and antiquity.

Finding beauty in darkness, poetry and meaning in the forgotten and surreal, imaginary worlds amongst decay. Rebecca’s artworks breathe life into forgotten historical locations, they reawaken old narratives, find beauty and meaning in their ruin and revive the memories of lost moments in places tainted by the indigenous.

Unseen to the ordinary public who pass their boarded windows and fenced walls, no trespass signs refrain communities from seeing the hidden world within, slowly being claimed back by nature unseen. Rebecca finds entry to these mystical places hidden to the world and sensitively captures them as a beautiful record, as they deserve to be recorded for posterity too, before they are lost as time rolls inexorably on. She captures the stories and characteristic through carefully composed images, to include the romantiscm and memories of the ruins.

In reality these places will cease to exist very soon and as the memories fade, they will be forgotten and although derelict places have no appeal as tourist destinations, their value and place in cultural memory is fundamental to the history of the 20th century. Her works also add elements of the surreal and mythology through her Underworld series, these works further take you down the rabbit hole into a world of dreams and the haunting, shadowy passing of time.

 

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