Based in Saint Petersburg, Dmitry Pryakhin has been taking photos for the past ten years. He specialises in pictures of moving people, figures who play with their shape. His black-and-white series “Grandpa” came about when his friend Regina asked her grandfather to pose for a project. In these tenderly shot images, we see an old man looking back on his life, relating his hardships, expressing joy at his family life.
“Aged people already have extensive experience in real life,” writes Dmitry. “Usually they are not so much worried about their looks as young men, and they have something profound to tell us about themselves. An elderly person certainly finds it difficult to move, but every movement of theirs is interesting, somehow more fulfilled.”
Here is the story of “Grandpa”:
My name is Acapkin Peter Tihonovich. I was born on June 16, 1931. I was 10 years old when the War [Operation Barbarossa] began. My childhood ended with this day. Our family was large, with five children. The eldest – Vasiliy was 12, the youngest – Nina, 1.5 months.
Father Tikhon went to the front, and the family lived in the village of Dubinino, in the Sharypovskiy district of the Krasnoyarsk region. In the village there were two farms, and a school till year seven. We children were put to work on the farm. We had to quit school because we didn’t have clothes, shoes, and we had to work.
There was a boarding school. It was at a distance of 8 km from home. We didn’t have transport so we went there skiing, and in the spring, knee-deep in mud. From grade nine, we were called to serve in the army. That went about for a period of four years. After the army, I went to the Institute to become a mechanical engineer. I became interested in technical creativity. Did automobiles and tractors. In 1942, I became a driver. I ran a bull, his name was Stahan.
On the farm, at work in the fields, I met my wife Raya. She brought me food every day. We got married. Her hair was jet-black and long. Her soul was open. Our daughter Elena was born soon. In 1984, I saw the birth of my granddaughter Regina. The purpose of my life changed – I wanted to raise her, see her grow. In 2010, my great granddaughter Alice was born. This year she will go to school.
We live together. In Saint Petersburg. I am 86 years old and my life can fit in a very big book, but who needs it. Maybe I could use someone else’s words: “I was born in the middle of nowhere, in the village and grew up half-wild among the wild savages that gave me destiny, by the grace of the great leaders – the huntsmen.” I don’t know who wrote that.
In the near future, Dmitry plans to do photos of people of different “ages and destinies”, both group and single shots.
Links: Behance (www.behance.net/pryahin)
Images used with permission.