“It is impossible to find out who you really are. Mirrors are always crooked or somehow otherwise blemished. Even if someone manages to find an absolutely pure mirror, his eyes will still play tricks on him. And it’s not possible to simply peek inside. Alas, this is each person’s mystery.”

—Eve, age 10. Translated from Russian.

Over the course of seven years, Russian photographer Viktoria Sorochinski photographed a mother (Anna) and her daugher (Eve) as they both grew up as Russian immigrants in Montreal. Sorochinski was drawn to the pair as she saw how Anna, in her early 20s at the beginning of the project, was more like a sister than a mother to the precocious Eve. Through a mix of fantasy and documentary, Sorochinkski shows how the two grew together and came to understand the world around them.

The book’s often whimsical photos are counterbalanced by the book’s text: the flinty yet simultaneously naive series of observations written by Eve when she was just 10 years old. The text, as the quote above indicates, is a pleasure, combining child-like innocence with piercing perceptions. The book seems to grow along with its subjects, getting beyond its fairy-tale beginnings. But while Anna and Eve grow up and appear ever more adult in our eyes, Eve and the book maintain the importance of fantasy to the last page: “Adults just think they don’t need fairy tales”. 

Like the best childhood stories, Anna & Eve creates a fantasy world that also sheds light on the real one. By looking through Eve’s bright blue eyes, we are reminded of the world’s beauty, its sad realities, and, lest we forget, its moments of magic.

—Jim Casper and Alexander Strecker

Editor’s note: LensCulture featured this series in a slightly different form over a year ago. We’re delighted to see that a beautiful book of this work has recently been published with more photos and insightful texts. Recommended.

Anna & Eve  
Viktoria Sorochinski
Publisher: Peperoni Books
Hardcover: 92 pages