A 2010 Saltonstall alumna, photographer Lida Suchy continues to work on an ongoing project entitled Portrait of a Village: The People of Kryvorivnya Ukraine. Lida is a first-generation American born to a refugee family that was forced to leave Ukraine because of political and personal convictions.
Her project began shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain when she traveled with her 80 year-old father to Kryvorivnya, a small village in Western Ukraine located in the region where her father was born. The village felt surprisingly familiar. “In my childhood, it had been described to me in great detail by my parents,” she explains. “Through my photographs, I want to confront the image built-up from the recollections of my parents with one of my own,” she says.
An initial stay lasted a year, and during subsequent visits in the 1990s, Lida photographed many of the village’s 2,000 inhabitants, creating a composite portrait of a rural community. Nearly 20 years later, she began returning to the village to continue photographing. “When my father brought me to the village for the first time, I didn’t realize that this was the beginning of an ongoing relationship,” says Lida.
Portrait of a Village has evolved to include the notion of the passage of time. “Some of the families I photographed before have grown, and children have become adults with children of their own,” she says. “Some photographs I made years ago I now find in family albums, others hang on walls together with fading portraits of ancestors.”