A little girl Vera Zenko from Volozhin was chasing the cart, where fascists were taking away her pregnant mother, – and they took pity and threw her off the back of that cart. Vera is 91 now, she calls her life “the last seasons” and recites her biography through what’s inside her wardrobe.
Vera and I met in Belarussian Volozhin, she was on her way to a pharmacy. She was wearing huge sunglasses, a checkered dress, crimson socks and shoes. That was love from the first sight. I came to her to get acquainted and in five minutes I was sitting at the table in her house, and she was showing me her outfits and telling their story. Later I came to visit Vera in Volozhin a few times, staying the night.
She has lived all her life here, and within that time multicultural Polish Volozhin became Soviet, and then Belarussian. Her 4 brothers and sisters were blown all over Ukraine and Belarus. Vera stayed in her home town – got married here, took her husband’s name Perepecha, had three children, worked and brought up grandchildren.
On the first of January 2018 Vera turned ninety-one. She is not afraid of getting old. Once Vera told me, that she’s living her last seasons, when every spring can become the last one. She likes to dress up. All her life is inside her wardrobe: every dress has its own story, its own memory.
“This is the end of my life. All important things have already happened and passed. Childhood, hunger, war, love, kids. My father was shot by the Germans. My mother was left alone, pregnant with Galina and the four of us. I keep a hand-made belt in memory of my dad. He never hit us, but I was naughty and once he threatened me, that if I didn’t stop being bad, he’d punish me. I got scared. Stopped that behavior and still keep the belt.
«A point on the map» (Grand Prix, Russia 2018)
Direct look photo contest (Russia, 2019)
Vilnius Photo Circle ( Lithuania, 2019)
Takie Dela, The Guardian, 6MOIS, de Volkskrant