The New Press published the book by Ksenia Kuleshova : Ordinary People, consisting of a series of photo-portraits of LGBTQ young people living in an increasingly homophobic Armenia, Georgia, and Russia.
In late 2022, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dragged on, President Vladimir Putin signed new legislation cracking down on LGBTQ communities. Almost ten years earlier, Russia had enacted a federal law that prohibited the promotion of “non-traditional sexual values”—seen as Western values—to anyone under the age of eighteen. Known by many as the “gay propaganda law,” it has been used to silence any public discussion or positive messaging about LGBTQ issues in any place or format accessible to minors, including the media and online. The new legislation expands on the 2013 law to cover all ages and all media, causing many to fear for a new wave of homophobic violence.
In Ordinary People, Ksenia Kuleshova, has taken a series of intimate portraits, accompanied by short interviews of LGBTQ Russians who, despite the relentless homophobia from politicians, religious leaders, and the media, remain open about their sexuality and seek happiness and joy in their everyday lives. In Ordinary People, Kuleshova also looks beyond Russia’s borders to people in the former Soviet states of Armenia and Georgia, who have taken their lead from Russia’s homophobic policies. Powerful and intimate, Ordinary People is a moving and ultimately joyful testament to the survival and resilience of the LGBTQ community in one of the most oppressive countries in the world.
The seventeenth entry in The New Press’s worldwide LGBTQ photobook series, Ordinary People is an arresting collection of full-color photos in a beautiful, affordable volume. It provides a portrait of young people navigating the ambiguities of friendship and sexuality as they enter adulthood and struggle with what it means to be queer in modern-day Russia and former Soviet states Armenia and Georgia.
Ksenia Kuleshova is a documentary photographer based in Germany and Belgium. She has been featured in the British Journal of Photography as one of thirty-one women to watch (2018), as one of twenty rising women photojournalists by Artsy (2019), and as one of The 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch (2022). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic, Wall Street Journal, DIE ZEIT, and FOCUS and she is the author of Ordinary People (The New Press).
Portraits from LGBTQ Armenia, Georgia, and Russia
By Ksenia Kuleshova
With an introduction by Sasha Kazantseva
8 x 10 , 136 pages
Also available as an e-book