Project

A Warm Atmosphere: Boiler Machinists and Their Workspaces in a Project by Sergey Poteryaev

Ural-based photographer Sergey Poteryaev visited a boiler factory and captured how the workers set up their personal space.


Sergey Poteryaev, 26

Documentary photographer from Yekaterinburg. Winner of the “Young Photographers of Russia” contest, the Canadian Top Pick 2012, and the Lithuanian “Young Man in the 21st Century.” Winner of the Cortona on the Move “OFF Circuit prize” (Italy) in 2013. Poteryaev’s work has been on exhibition in Russia, Lithuania, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Switzerland, Romania, Great Britain, Bulgaria and Italy.

The Soviet man spent most of his life in factories and at enterprises where he worked for the good of the state. For exactly this reason, the culture of decorating one’s workspace with personal belongings came about.

Nowadays, during the modernization of production, personal belongings are given much less space at work. In addition, most of modern working life takes place outside of the plant’s territory. Older people can now only find signs of that era (posters, paintings and old radios) in “closets.”


Viktor Serebrennikov, a senior engineer at the boiler turbine workshop (KTTs).

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An employee of the Urals Chemical Engineering Plant in the boiler parameters control center.

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Andrey, a KTTs repairman, in the staff common room.

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Svetlana Dyogteva, a KTTs boiler machinist in the boiler room of the Urals Federal University, named after the first Russian President, Boris Yeltsin.

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You can find small “traces” of humanity in various technical spaces – pictures, notes, or as in the photograph for example, handprints.

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A woman on duty in the pump room and an old calendar from 2010.

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KTTs welder Yurij Dmitrievich Boldyrev.

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Many people still bring small, living room plants to work. They say that, with an iron backdrop, something living will save you from routine.

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Moving the department of water treatment in the boiler plant, located on the outskirts of Yekaterinburg.

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One of the rooms in Uralkhimmash. The TV hasn’t worked for ages, but at least workers can relax on the bed after night shift duty.

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A portrait of Stalin in one of the technical boiler rooms. No one knows who hung it or why it’s still hanging.

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Technical boiler rooms at Uralkhimmash.

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