Vitaly Smirnov

The Huts

I have seen these huts out of windows of a train many times - randomly scattered over the fields, perched on hills, they always passed by quickly, but stayed long in the memory. I thought, what was the motivation for these anonymous authors of folk architecture, the creators of these houses - unique and at the same time similar to each other...

The unexpected and in fact very rare opportunity to reveal oneself in work - to build a home-from-nothing in one's tiny plot of land, a house not for living, a house for garden tools - unexpectedly allowed this construction, utilitarian at its core, to acquire all the features of the familiar image of a house: triangular roof, square walls, window, door. Add a pipe painted with rings of smoke - a child's drawing, nothing more and nothing less.

Someone could think, why the window or pitched roof? Why not restrict oneself to a rectangular barn with a single door? But no, it will be too little to implement the idea about what a house must look like, well, not a house, a hut. Small - but one's own, low - but with a window, similar to all the children's drawings at once, one's own image of home.

My project is first of all an attempt to study the vast layer of human life, the several generations of people who created them, their fate, as well as the fate of these huts - a slice of history in all its contradictions and variety.

For me multiple layers of this project are obvious, everyone can find something in it close only to him - whether it is the amazing texture of materials of which the huts are made, or their shapes, it can be carried from childhood image of a house, but for someone it is nothing more than a trace of bygone era, irony of the very possibility of the creation of such houses, which became a part of the lives of many unknown people.

By means of photography, I tried to remove houses from the context of the medium, and presenting them in the form of original portraits, give the viewer an opportunity to make its own study.

Untitled, Huts, 2008