Born in Omsk in 1971, Sergey Loier was still very young when he was given a FED 5C – the Russian copy of the Leica – as a present. He then spent hours photographing kids playing in a sandbox, not knowing that twenty-five years later, this time armed with a digital camera, he would be taking pictures of his friends’ children in the same playground. In 2004 a stroke of luck turned him into a theatre photographer; and inspired by Lithuanian director Eimuntas Nekrosius, a master of the unspoken and the atmospheric, and photographer Evgeny Mokhorev, he began thinking of creating his own stories. Using miniature figures he set out to convey emotion in terms of speech, shouting and tears; these works were not a staged rendition of his ideas, but attempts to express his personal experience and inner feelings.
“I have a recurring dream. My mother is going through the door, and I’m afraid she’s abandoning me…” The project began in 2005 as a reminder that all around us children with no father or mother are waiting every single day for a parent to appear. Children denied warmth and affection and who are right there alongside us. Maybe in the street we live in there is an anonymous orphanage, where a child looks mutely out the window at the passers-by, hoping to recognise the one coming for him.
The work was not completed until 2008, with the photographs being taken in the municipal museum in Omsk, then closed for renovations. The subjects were children aged four to six, most of whom had spent the greater part of their lives in an orphanage. By the time the project was finished, all of them had found a family.
Already very grown-up, these little people were extremely communicative and curious. Bright-eyed and sincere, they took their roles very seriously and were always ready to pitch in with their own ideas and interpretations.
Anna Shpakova, curator
Text from the catalogue-book “Photoquai”, co-edited by Musée du Quai Branly- Actes-Sud