MrSco > Collections

One characteristic all dictatorships share is a lack of press freedom. Complete state control of the media means among other things no independent photojournalism and no independent documentary photography. In the Soviet Union for example, no professional photographic record of the daily lives of the hugely diverse range of people living within its borders exists. In the case of Russia alone, that’s a very large gap indeed, spanning an astonishing seven decades. In Lithuania, a Soviet republic between 1940 and 1941 and again from 1944 until 1990, a grand total of 46 important years of ordinary life is missing from the annals of the history of photography. There is however an enormous photographic treasure celebrating everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. Visit almost any home in the former Soviet Union and along with the obligatory tea and biscuits out comes, in ritual fashion, the family photo album. Within the pages of these extraordinarily revealing books lies one of the most important and undiscovered photographic collections in the world. Due to the understandable failure of the owners of these photographs to appreciate their historical value, this vast and immensely important contribution to history is gradually disappearing with the passing of time. Snapshot Citizens is a project that will collect a publicly viewable archive of these photographs. The project starts in 2010 in Lithuania, exactly 20 years after the country declared independence from the Soviet Union, with the first collection of images. If you’d like to get involved, or know of any photographs that could be included in the project, please don’t hesitate to contact me.