As a child I didn´t think in the categories old/ young. There were the grown-ups, the big ones and me. My grandparents weren´t old, they were grandpa and grandma. With grandpa I played chess and grandma fed me with all kinds of goodies.
I remember my embarrassed amazement, when I inadvertedly broke in on my grandpa and he wasn´t wearing his false teeth. Suddenly he looked old and funny in my eyes.
Most of our lives we stay in a bubble, in the bubble of our ages, we forget about childhood and don´t know about old age.
Two projects by Evgenia Arbugaeva caught my eyes, first her portrait of an old woman, and then a fairy tale interpretation of an arctic city, as if seen through the eyes of a child just immersed in silent reverie.
“Forever beautiful” Evgenia Arbugaeva called her project with the old lady, and yes, there is beauty to detect. But essentially the strongest images are about the pain of not being young anymore. In our minds youth and beauty are tightly connected, growing old means that you never will feel beautiful again.
Evgenia Arbugaeva also hints at some other aspects of being old, but what could have turned into the beginning of a more complete picture, is left unfinished.
In Tiksi she is depicting a world that looks like an illustration for a fairy tale. Walking around in this arctic city Evgenia Arbugaeva detects a miraculous world too beautiful to be true. But her photographs are as truthful as photographs can be. We are shown a world that could remind us of all those hours immersed in play, we were children then, and forgot about time then, and reality was there to reflect our phantasies.
Here Evgenia Arbugaeva photographs bear a touch of magic that is hard to be found.