Ayar Kuo Sandaara - Workshopx Documentary Photography Workshops Photojournalism

Ayar Kuo – Sandaara

© Ayar Kuo

I am five years old. It’s Summer. I am standing in a washbowl, while my grandmother is rubbing my back very hard with a bast wisp. It is painful, hard, cold, and unpleasant. And I am thinking that spending the summer in the village with my grandmother is no fun at all. After this “bath” my sister and I went out into the only street in the village and, without saying a word to grandmother, we moved to our relatives. We stayed with them for the rest of the summer. I still do not understand why grandmother did not come to pick us up. And this is my only memory of her…

I can keep recollecting moments like this on and on.

Sandaara is a photo-fairytale about memory, the most vivid recollections of every person, about the most valuable, genuine and sincere things, about something that cannot succumb to any influences, changes and destruction. Memory is something that belongs to us only, and no one can take it away from us. These are the most concealed corners of our soul where we often hide from the world. The story is based on the memories of my own childhood, of my family, of the places, smells, sensations that have become more acute since I left my homeland – Yakutia. This is a story about what we preserve in ourselves.


Ayar Kuo, born in Yakutsk, Russia, is a documentary photographer currently based in France.

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