12:16 Jul. 19, 2016
Project exposes people feeling lonely and desolate against the post-Soviet children's entertainment facilities
For more than three years, French photographer Francis Mazuet has been working on the ‘Playground' photo series - portraits of adult Ukrainians against children's playgrounds. Currently, the series include nearly 340 photos, according to Bird in Flight.
In 2007, Francis Mazuet moved to Kyiv to teach the French language. Alongside his main job, he started to work on several photo projects.
"I have always been interested in photography. It is quite logical that I made up my mind to come up with a full-fledged project in Ukraine", Francis says.
"Everything is different here: on the one hand, it is Europe, on the other hand – it isn't. I travelled and lived in different countries, but only in Ukraine I felt that I was in completely different world, a new one", Francis adds.
There is one prerequisite - a person who is being photographed should remain calm and alone on the picture. People usually ask the photographer how they should pose for the photo: how they should stand, what they should look at, what they should do. Usually, he doesn't give any clear guidance.
‘At the very beginnings, I didn't understand myself what the project was about, but, only later, when I made a number of photos, I came to realize what exactly I was photographing", Francis says.
The vast majority of the photos were made in Kyiv. According to Mazuet, Kyiv is a perfect city for pedestrians.
"There is something magical about playgrounds. I view them not as a child or a father, but as an artist. Their architecture is fantastic, and each one is like a work of art. Most of all, I like the older playgrounds as they look like remnants of the Soviet times, and they look much more exotic", Francis adds.
"After finding a new playground, I have two options: either I ask one of those passing by to participate in the project or I return to the place with my friends later. As I speak Russian quite poorly, and I usually have to use simple phrases, passers-by quite often refuse. Especially, the elderly people", Francis says.