Russian photographer Daria Garnik, born in ’86, graduated in art criticism, took a series of shots in honor of Soviet astronaut Jurij Gagarin who, on April 12, 1961, was the first person in the world to travel in space and as a result became the pioneer of the era of space exploration. Jurij, coming from a family living in the Russian countryside, represented a symbol of hope and progress, living proof that everything was possible, even in spite of his origins. The astronaut is now considered a hero of the former Soviet Union and its propaganda, given the importance of space exploration within the policy of the USSR, but also the rivalry and climate of tension with the United States.
For this reason he became the idol of many children including Daria who, despite being born 25 years after the mission, curious about the man behind the myth, decided to travel and go to the birthplace of Gagarin about 200 km away from Moscow, once called Gzhatsk but later renamed after the historic flight into space. There are currently many places that commemorate the astronaut here, such as museums, shops, libraries, and cinemas.
The Russian photographer created a reportage retracing a bit ‘the life of Jurij wanting to know the story, immortalizing the house, the car, the food he ate when he was in the spaceship, the school attended, etc..
Daria’s shots are inspired by many influences, from her adolescent age where Russia was going through a difficult period in those years to the surrounding reality, from the people she meets, the discovery of new places and consequently a better understanding of the world.
One of the photographer’s favorite shots is the one in the garage, which is very reminiscent of an aquarium in which Gagarin’s car is placed. This image makes it seem like a place where time has stood still. The GAZ-21 car was a gift from the government to the aviator after his assignment, which he used until his tragic death in an accident while driving a fighter.
Text by Anna Cardaci