continued from page 106
As she explored the park and met people, Yemchuk hoped that those she photographed
would show her “something special.”
suggestion. While the group of people she was with sat at a café, Yemchuk walked
around the park with her camera. “I was able to find almost everything that I look
for in one place,” she recalls. The mixture of Soviet and post-Soviet architecture,
the gypsy-like food vendors, the people of all ages and social strata, and the natural
landscape all interested her. The fact that many of the people were in bathing suits
also removed many of the symbols of westernization, Yemchuk explains. “I was ex-
cited to find a place where the people were themselves the way I remembered.
They were stripped of all the stuff that’s become more western and it was just all
Yemchuk shot for two weeks in the park, and after she returned to the U.S. and
developed her film, she knew she had a project worth pursuing. She returned the
following two summers and spent several more weeks photographing in the park.
When she began assembling the work into a book, she looked for images with a
certain oddness or otherworldly quality to them that fit her esthetic. “Even if they’re
the most normal person you’d ever see, I’m trying to get something more dreamlike
or off about the situation,” she says.