Welcome to the Odessa Files Blog. Here you will find, rants, rave and generally useless nonsense about photography, filmamking and the life on an expat in the former Soviet Union
It is often said, even by me, that Odessa is a beautiful and photogenic city, in places it has the splendor of Rome or Italy in others the run down dereliction and ramshackle looks of Havana. Wherever you go, it often has great light. I have, in the past, photographed Odessa from a travel photographer’s eye, much of my last 20 years have been spent traveling, so I guess that is only natural, however, now I have settled, found a place to call home my eye is tuning itself to something else, some thing that fascinated me as a child of the 70′s and 80′s and continues to intrigue me today. The Soviets.
To be honest, back in my teenage years, the idea that one day I might live in what was the former Soviet Union would have seemed absurd. How could that be, Reagan, Thatcher, Breshnev and even Gorbochov, did not seem likely to be heading down a road of conciliation anytime soon. Yet it did happen, Polish dock workers went on strike, East German Guard turned a blind eye, The Wall fell. And so here am I, living in Odessa, pearl of the Black Sea and former Soviet Hero City.
Soviet Legacy is always nearby
So to the point of this blog, Odessa, like most Eastern European cities has an indelible link to the Soviets, it’s architecture, it’s transport and infrastructure, there are even plenty of old Soviet built cars rolling the streets. To me, this is achingly photogenic, a smorgasbord of photographic potential begging to be recorded.
For most of my photographic life, I have used SLRs then DSLRs, but this equipment just did not seem to be right to capture the Soviet legacy of this city. I needed something, small discrete yet optically good, with which to wander the streets of this fair city. Yesterday I bought it, the Fuji X100S. A lot has been said about this camera, by a lot of photographers, many of them better than I will ever be, yet in a few short hours of using it this morning, much of what they have said seemed right and proper.
In this blog, over the next few months, I hope to convey the story of two of my relationships, one with my X100S and one with my adopted city. Whether you are a shutterbug or Odessaphile I hope that you will enjoy it and if you do, please share it with others that may also I enjoy what I have to say.
So there we are, that is the point of the blog, the photography has started, for the first few weeks I am going to take a look at the Soviet suburbs, shooting what at first sight seem to be vast grey anonymous estates, yet are full of photographic possibilities.