Artist Statement

The term "Mother Russia" is just as fictional as the landscapes photographed in this series. It is a generalized cultural label intended to describe the origins of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (and their descendants) primarily to New York and Israel. As the son of Soviet Jewish immigrants, and having been born in New Jersey, I never experienced life in the cities of the former U.S.S.R., nor gone through the immigration process.

 

In order to understand this part of my family's history and cultural identity--and to place myself within it-- I would have to step into their shoes and re-experience the Soviet exodus for myself. Of course, whenever I ask to visit Moscow or St. Petersburg, my parents always respond, "over our dead bodies," recalling the anti-Semitism they experienced there.

 

This series follows the travels of a fictional relative who is an amateur street photographer, and going through the immigration process, at first to NYC, then to Israel. All of the images were produced from miniature models in New York and chronicle the sorts of images my own family members might have made: Soviet cityscapes, New York landmarks and crowds of people, and iconic religious sites in Israel, a nation in which they could experience religious freedom.

 

One day, I hope to break beyond the artifice of the world in miniature form and visit these sites for myself.

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