Sukhum divers
Project info

On the eastern coast of the Black Sea, in Transcaucasia, Abkhazia is located – a partially recognized state that was formed during the collapse of the USSR. According to the Georgian law, Abkhazia exists as a region within Georgia, and has the status of an occupied territory. The first among the countries that recognized the independence of Abkhazia was Russia, which has a common border with the republic and provides it with economic and political support. Along with Transnistria, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia belongs to the territories of post-Soviet frozen conflicts and is in a protracted crisis, experiencing problems of self-identification, political instability and economic inconsistency.
Such republics regularly attract the attention of the world community, including journalists and photographers. And although such a long existence of self-proclaimed territories is considered as a phenomenon, no one takes them seriously, and they are thought to be political exotics. “Time Capsule”, “Black Hole”, “Splinter of Communism”, “Museum of the Soviet Union” – clichés which are often used in the narrative context of these regions. However, isolation from the rest of the world is becoming increasingly ephemeral. People have long adapted to existence in conditions of uncertain state status. Over the past 25 years, several new generations have grown up, who consider these republics their homeland. They've seen no war or Soviet time, and their growing up occurs in the era of globalization and the Internet. In these new conditions, the boundaries for development, economic and cultural activities are becoming less noticeable.
Living in the unrecognized republic of Transnistria all our lifes, we once asked ourselves how the youth live in Abkhazia and how difficult it is not to become a hostage to stereotypes. Exploring the terrain in search of heroes, we realized that we want to concentrate on the lives of young people outside the political context. A much more interesting challenge was to find real life images that reflect the connection of a person with the place in which he was born.
Having acquainted with young boys and girls on the beaches of Sukhum, the capital of Abkhazia, we were fascinated by their beauty and the courage with which they dive into the water from piers and other water-and time-consumed structures. All these pieces of the Soviet past serve only as a springboard and a platform for innocent games. It felt like their life is closely connected with the sea, which forms not only their strong bodies, but also their way of life. All summer they practically live on half-abandoned, deserted beaches; They catch mussels, play in the waves, fall in love, lead unhurried conversations and throw stones in the water. Their whole life lies ahead of them, but in between their carefree childhood and maturity, they do not think about the future – time is on pause, there is only summer, sun and boundless sea. This way of living gives them a sense of freedom, which is so necessary in adolescence, wherever you live.