Dean O'Brien's Blog

Russian beginners class…

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My more than frequent trips to Eastern Europe, and in particular Ukraine has presented problems for me as a photographer.  Not technical problems though, but problems engaging with my subjects.  Many subjects who I have met only speak Russian and even with the use of a translator on hand, it seems impossible to achieve the intimacy required when attempting to document their stories.

Although, it is good to know that at least I am not alone in this.  Nick Hannes wrote in his book ‘Red Journey’ that ‘Not being able to communicate in Russian hinders locating my preferred working areas: the vicinity of railway stations, city outskirts, industrial sites, urban development areas, busy intersections, parks, fairgrounds and beaches’.  I knew exactly how he felt.

The only way to solve this was to enrol on a language course.  Luckily for me, Warwick University (just a stones throw from where I live) run a Russian beginners class.  Naturally, I enrolled and am now in my third week.  It is going well and is something which I believe is essential if I am going to continue working in former countries of the Soviet Union.



Written by Dean O'Brien

October 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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