Project

The past and the present of the Russian village in Sergey Poteryaev’s new project

Ural-based photographer Sergey Poteryaev juxtaposed archived photos of the residents of Staraya Utka village with those of his own to see what has changed over time.


Sergey Poteryaev, 26

Documentary photographer from Yekaterinburg. Winner of the “Young Photographers of Russia” contest, in addition to winning the Canadian Top Pick 2012 and the Lithuanian Young man in the 21st century contests. Winner of the Cortona On The Move “OFF Circuit prize” (Italy) in 2013. Poteryaev’s work has been on exhibit in Russia, Lithuania, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Switzerland, Romania, Great Britain, Bulgaria and Italy. “Staraya Utka” was exhibited in Vienna.



Staraya Utka is a village in Sverdlovsk oblast with a history that spans three centuries (now it is a peripheral district of the city Staroutkinsk — ed.). Due to the fact that the Staroutkinsk-Demidov ironworks was built here in 1729, the population began to grow rapidly. However, in the early 1990s the lifeblood enterprise of the city shut down and with it life in the town dampened.

Many other villages in the Urals met a similar fate. The typical landscape of such places includes a dam and a factory, which are surrounded by apartment blocks. In most of the cases, these companies and factories are already closed, and the days are numbered for the towns built around them. In the best cases, sawmills that have sprouted in the empty territories might give a few of the village’s residents a job.

In order to make this project I used my own photos in addition to photos found in the archives of local families. Using a collage, I tried to find something in common between Staraya Utka and the Staroutkinsk of today, trying to understand what changed over time, how people’s lives have changed and what the future might hold for the village.


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{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/poteryaev_18.jpg”, “alt”: “Staraya Utka by Sergey Poteryaev”}


{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/poteryaev_19.jpg”, “alt”: “Staraya Utka by Sergey Poteryaev”}


{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/poteryaev_20.jpg”, “alt”: “Staraya Utka by Sergey Poteryaev”}


{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/poteryaev_21.jpg”, “alt”: “Staraya Utka by Sergey Poteryaev”}

Text and photos: Sergey Poteryaev.

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