Jean-Baptiste Fort ‘Hand-me-downs’
Barcelona based photographer, Jean-Baptiste Fort presents his debut feature – a retrospect to the Post-Soviet Period set in a typical soviet flat.
“To survive the hard times, people exchanged their belongings (clothes, toys or sport equipment, with relatives, friends & acquaintances. They didn’t buy or sell, they swapped. It was common that kids & teenagers wore hand-me-downs, jeans from an older brother, t-shirt from a cousin & a jacket from mom or dad.
But the culture of hand-me-downs is deeply in minds of Russian-speaking people, & it’s impossible to root it out. For example, my grandparents never throw away anything, like anyone else from the soviet generation. When you have no one to give the things to, you just move them to the country house (called Dacha) & store everything there. All these dachas are treasure troves.
The must-haves of any soviet family were wall-cabinet, sofa & carpet on the wall. I have no idea why, but as I was told there was not much choice of furniture, & it was very prestigious to have a wall-cabinet. People put carpets on the wall for soundproofing since the typical block of flats of those times, built during the times of Nikita Khrushchev, had paper-thin walls, & you could easily hear your neighbours talking or watching TV.”