The other day, VICE received the following pitch:
My name is Kristina Podobed, I am a photographer from Odessa, Ukraine. My friends and I did a shoot about the Ukrainian school life. We will be very glad if you can use it in any way!
Our shoot is about our immortal wish to look like American school kids from the Hollywood movies of the 80s and 90s and the impossibility of making it real because of the total poverty. Growing up in Ukraine in the 1990s, we were bombarded with beautiful impressions of life in the West—impressions reinforced by Hollywood movies such as Home Alone, Problem Child, and The Parent Trap. Every girl was raised thinking she was a Disney princess and then taught manners by Clueless and Legally Blonde. Unconsciously, we were living under the American soft power.
The thing is that we all grew up. We are all around 20 years old now, and we want to show the world that we are proud of our ugly, post-Soviet withering past. Everything in the world is globalizing and made to look similar. Which, for a poor middle-class country like Ukraine, is a good thing. Globalization will take years to reach the core of our mentality and blend with every level of our society.
Our photographs hopefully show it's touched us superficially, but our counties are still filled with hate, racism, corruption and violence. As we write this, brave young people all over Ukraine have managed to obtain the abolition of our totalitarian government's anti-demonstration laws simply by breaking them. With this shoot, we'd like to show that we love ourselves and our past, but that we feel it's essential to move on. This place is too depressive to raise children in.
Models: Anastasiia Chorna, Nastya Anelchyk, Margo Dostoyevskaya See more of Kristina's work here.