Prisoners and their children

This is a story about people who are in prison and about families who are waiting for them.

I photographed the convicts in prisons and their children at home. I wanted to create a parallel reality of their existence. Meetings of prisoners and their children became possible thanks to the project "Christmas tree of an angel"

I started to visit various prisons as a volunteer in Russia at the age of 18. Now I'm shooting a photo project about parents who are serving their sentences in places of detention and children who are waiting for them at home. I'm investigating relationships and looking for connections between them. I photographed the inmates in prisons and their children at home. I wanted to show a parallel reality of their existence using photographs to help children and adults see each other's lives, which they will never see themselves. I asked the children to take a picture for mother and show me what they like to do or what they play, so that I can then transfer the pictures to their parents.

Also, I shot meetings in prisons and captured the moment when prisoners and their families were waiting for the meeting and the moment of their meeting itself.

Yana and little Katya
This story is about Yana and little Katya. When Yana was 14 years old, her mother was imprisoned. The girl was left alone in a 4 bedroom apartment. At that time the girl made new adult friends, and they taught her how to use drugs. Nobody from child protection organisations showed up. After one year her mom got out of prison but Yana had changed a lot during this time. Yana graduated from a vocational school, her trade being seamstress, but she began to work as a seamstress only in the colony. Yana is 35 years old, and she has a daughter Katya. After Yana's arrest she moved to her grandmother.

Katya is 11 years old, when Yana comes out of prison her daughter will be 16 years old.

After Yana's arrest, Katya comes to the windows of the colony almost every week to wave to her mom. In this photo Katya expects the first meeting with her mother. They have not seen each other for 10 months.

The first meeting of Yana and Katya during the Christmas holiday with clowns and competitions.

Olya and little Katya

Katya is 7 years old, she lives with her grandmother. Mom has been in prison for 2 years for distributing drugs. When Olya comes out of prison her daughter will be 12 years old.

"I'm warmed by the thought that the child is waiting at home, there are no more thoughts.
Probably, I would have done many things differently. I want to go back in time, I would not have made this mistake.I understand that I can lose my family. I really do not want this. She understands that this is not for long, that this is all over, everything will fall into place and we will be together.
Support from my family is very important for me. I am expected at home. It helps me resist disappearing".
I tried to give up drugs many times. I was in the re-centers. But I myself am guilty, probably, I did not really want. When Katyusha was born she did not change anything. Katia is like a salvation for me now.
I tried to give up drugs many times. I was at rehab centres. But I myself am guilty, probably, I did not really want it. When Katyusha was born she did not change anything. Now Katya is my salvation.

Mother and her twins

Daniil and Delphina are 11 years old, they are twins.
Their mother has been sitting for 2 years for distributing drugs. She was sentenced to 6 years. During this time, the children have never seen her. The colony is far from their home, and it's hard for their grandmother to go there. I took pictures of children on the way to the Christmas holiday, which was held in the colony. Almost the entire holiday children were sitting with their mother. When they saw it[d], they were very surprised, they thought Mom was shorter.

Natasha and Kostya

Kostya was convicted of drug possession and trafficking and he was sentenced to 10 years. According to his words, his friend framed him. Since he did not have any money for the lawyer, he did not win the court case. His daughter Sofia is 2.5 years old at the moment. He saw her last time when she was 10 months old. Kostya is 32 years old.

Meetings in prisons

Every year prisoners and their children meet at Christmas in the colonies of Leningrad region. For many, this is the first meeting with their relatives during their prison term.
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