Alena Zhandarova – The City of Brides

By in Books, Interviews on 8. December 2015

In her work “The City of Brides” Alena Zhandarova explores a well known legend in Russia: “The City of Brides”.

Interview with Alena Zhandarova

Alena Zhandarova was born in the far east of Russia in 1989 during the “parade of planets”. 21 years later she received a master’s degree in art photography at IED Madrid.
Ivanovo was the center of the textile industry in Russia from the tsars’ time and a lot of young girls went there in pursuit of employment. The romantic time of factories came to an end, but the native land of Tarkovsky preserves its feminine alias till now.
The starting point for her series was the aspiration to explore her city’s legend, in Russia well known as “The City of Brides” for about 100 years (there were many textile factories in Ivanovo, that’s why a lot of young girls went there in search for work). Alena wanted to understand her own womanhood. She wanted to hear the stories from the girls she was meeting for the first time after contacting them over the Internet. Alena worked for half a year on this topic and is continuing to investigate that direction.

Parts of absurdity is the main instrument and the most accurate storytelling tool for Alena.
“I see the world continuing without any barriers between you and me, between this table and your skin. I see too many conventions and inflexibility of perception which frequently inherent in the people and me in particular, so it is my weapon of joyfulness against statics and gloom.”
The women showed are sometimes half-nude or hidden. “The moment gave a push by itself, I chose to trust in it and didn’t plan anything. The moment I met the girls, I knew: I was right”. Alena doesn’t think that there is a difference in a relationship before and after the marriage. “But with every event in each persons life, it helps them to grow over their self of the past”. In general, people in Russia are more traditional in that context and it would be inappropriate to think that there are no differences with countries like Germany, for example.

posted by Julia Gaes

Alena’s work is available as a handmade book in an edition of 150 copies, with cotton from Ivanovo.


Alenas Website:


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