Nach dem Zusammenbruch der sowjetischen Planwirtschaft und der Schließung der staatlichen Landwirtschaftsbetriebe, verließen viele Bewohner das sibirische Dorf Sibilyakovo.
Die Einwohnerzahl des Dorfes ist von einst 550 auf heute 39 geschrumpft. In den Siebziger Jahren hatte die Grundschule im Ort vier Klassen mit jeweils 18 Kindern – jetzt gibt es nur noch einen Schüler: den neunjährigen Ravil Izhmukhametov.
Seine Lehrerin, Uminur Kuchukova, 61 Jahre alt, unterrichtet bereits seit 42 Jahren an der Schule.Sie hätte vor Jahren in Rente gehen können. Sie blieb und unterrichtet weiterhin in der Grundschule, um Ravil, ihren letzten Schüler, zu fördern und ihm den langen, mühsamen Weg zur nächstgelegenen Schule zu ersparen.
Alexey Malgavko hat unseren Fragebogen beantwortet und berichtet über sich und sein Projekt:
The main theme of my work is life in the Russian Province. I often shoot disappearing villages and small towns.
One of the main problems in Russia is the constant outflow of people to larger cities: valuable personnel and young people leave, mainly pensioners remain. There is a process of urbanization of the village, today agriculture in Russia is concentrated in a 50-kilometer zone around the metropolis and in the hands of large agricultural holdings. Thus, in remote villages, the traditional way of life breaks down, people are forced to leave and try to settle in an uncomfortable city bustle. The life of the village of Sibilyakovo is a vivid example of this problem.
In the village of Sibilyakovo, the windows of the houses of the remaining residents are facing the abandoned houses of neighbors who have already left or died. The road is impassable so not even come by. There is no store, the school is closing, the post office and some neighbor are also going to leave soon. People live in the past and tell how they once went to visit each other. I do know this feeling too, because I am also from a small town, which has the same dreary atmosphere.
When and where were you born, where have you been educated and what are stages of your professional career?
I was born in the small Siberian city of Tara in the north of the Omsk region in 1985. I studied at the historical faculty of Omsk and, since my father was a photographer, I got familiar with photography since childhood. From the 3rd year of university I already started working in the local newspaper as a photojournalist and I also collaborated with the central Russian press and other foreign news agencies. In 2012 I became a full-time photographer at the federal agency RIA Novosti, covering major sport and significant events in the country. In 2019 I decided to leave the news to embrace longer and more detailed photo stories. I am currently a freelance photographer.
What is your standard camera equipment? Is there any special or favorite gear?
While working at the agency, I used a wide range of equipment, including quadcopter and telephoto lenses to create a large and varied volume of photographs. As a freelance I use one mirrorless camera and basically one 35mm lens. This gives me the mobility to travel and the trust of the characters I work with .
How do you process/edit your images? What particular darkroom technique, software or apps do you utilize?
My intervention in the final product is often limited only by cropping, less often I can lighten / darken the image. The technical characteristics of modern cameras are so perfect that with my correction I will rather damage photos and documentaries.
Do you have photographic role models?
It’s difficult for me to identify any specific names, there are a lot of them. I try to follow the largest world agencies (Magnum, Agence VU, Panos Picture, AP, Reuters and AFP), as well as a number of little-known, but interesting, authors on Instagram.
Is there a portfolio or photobook that inspired you?
Yes, there is a book of selected photographs by my father. It´s called “Mig and Century” and it focuses on life in the Russian Province in the 90s. Photography is my way of life. It allows me to visit different places, meet interesting people. I try to realize my creative ideas based on my inner instinct.