St. Petersburg  | 2011 / 2012

Garagedoc shows a typical piece of Russian culture: the numerous garage areas that are at the point of being demolished. Decades ago there were almost no parkings in Russia's big cities, but valuable cars needed to be protected from the severe weather conditions. The solution: numerous garage areas, with a little private spot for every car owner. This resulted in areas up to 15.000 garages. Most garages are privately owned, but built on a piece of rented government-owned land. And this is where the creativity of the Russian people becomes clearly visible. For instance the restrictions on measurements (a garage could measure only 3x6m) wasn't a problem for them: there wasn't a rule set about height. This resulted in very creative and improvised creations made from a diversity of material.

The garages grew out to be little cities within the real city, with their own rules. The garage proved to be a lot more to the garage owners than only a spot to maintain their cars. This is noticed best at the recently demolished garage areas: between the remainings of the garages you can see a cross section of stuff people kept in their garages.....not only car parts!

Section: Lost and found
There are lots of poor people looking for valuable stuff between the demolished garages, so they can sell it and earn some extra money. After looking at this ritual I decided to do the same: search for small personal stuff which shows the garage culture. But because of their history the material was way too valuable to just photograph on the spot between the dirt. So that's why the pictures where taken somewhere else, in front of a clean background; recovering their original value.