My version of the postcard.
Kind regards, Maria
This is Odonga. He’s just arrived in Moscow.
There’s a big and optimistic story behind this picture. Let me tell you this story.
It began in 2005 when a Russian journalist Victoria Ivleva went to Uganda to make a report of child soldiers. In a rehabilitation camp where the ex-soldiers lived Victoria met a boy called Odonga Bosco. He was 15 then and he had been a soldier for seven months. They had a long conversation. Odonga told about his dream to become a doctor and Victoria promised him to make his dream come true one day.
Victoria left for Russia, and meanwhile Odonga was pushed out of the camp, and it was impossible to find him via letters and phone calls.
So, Victoria went to Africa again to find the boy. And she managed to do it. She found Odonga and put him to the best school in the city, and it was the first step in making the dream come true. Later, Victoria and her colleagues were collecting money and sending it to Odonga, because education in that school was pretty expensive.
Odonga successfully completed school. He had been the best pupil in the class. It was time to enter the university and to begin his studies in Russia.
The affair almost failed because of complicated and contradictory bureaucratic procedures. Well, I won’t go into details. Actually, Victoria managed to arrange all the affairs. Finally, Odonga arrived in Moscow. We met him in the airport and took him to the university hall of residence.
Well, I saw with my own eyes the happy-end of this story and it was really exciting.
PS I’m thinking about making a story about Odonga’s life in Moscow. What would you say?..
I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was a little girl. Well, my path has been thorny.
My family wanted me to be a lawyer. So, I entered the Law Faculty in Moscow State University and began my studies. While I was studying, I was taking a great interest in drawing and writing poems and fairytales. Once I picked up a camera… and I became carried away by Photography. But I continued to study Law, and Photography was just a hobby at that time. I graduated the University and started to work as a lawyer. But my career in Law wasn’t too long because of my passion for photography.
I returned to Moscow State University, but this time I studied Photojournalism. At the same time I was attending the Sergey Maximishin Workshop. I finished my studies in 2010. It is from that year that I date the beginning of my career in Photojournalism.
My first more or less serious work was about simple people living in Russian backwoods. I traveled to the interior of the country to explore the life and to make my photoessay.
It was 2010 when extensive wildfires broke out across western Russia. I went to the scenes of the fires to make a report. I confirmed in the idea that I had chosen a right career. Photography became my way of understanding the world and my mode of communication.
My first reports and photoessays weren’t published anywhere. Later I began to work with the ITAR-TASS agency, I was a stringer. I kept covering the news but I wanted more. I was passionately anxious to have a deeper insight and understanding of life. I tried to explore life through photography.
In 2011 civil war broke out in Libya. I wasn’t able to go there as I had no assignment nor money. Many friends of mine, who are journalists, went away to cover that war. And a person, who is very important to me, went there too. So, I stayed in Moscow following news and photos, waiting, worrying and hoping for the best. I made a project about my waiting and about the invasion of war into my privacy. It was a challenge: to make an essay about war, staying far from that war. Well, it wasn’t a journalistic project in a strict sense, it was a kind of a visual diary.
Since December 2011 I’ve been photographing protests in Russia. Well, they’re still continuing and I have my finger on the pulse of this topic.