Back in 2011 I did a photo shoot very much inspired by my family and our Ukrainian background. I had been experimenting with all sorts of eccentric characters and shoots by then, but I found myself thinking about my grandparents and even great-grandparents; their history surviving and thriving in Saskatchewan during some of the hardest times before the 1930′s and on. I may not know a great deal of that history, certainly not as much as my two Uncles, whom have fortunately retained a lot of those stories passed down to them from their Uncles, Aunts and parents. At times I find myself very much wanting to be connected to that history – to know and understand my roots as well as pay respect to those important and beloved people before me.
I inevitably I ended up imaging what my life would/could have looked like had I been born in this generation. How could I have lived, even as a gay male – would I have suppressed all of that – opted for a life of family and hard work in the fields or mines? How would I have faced the possibility of going off to war? What would life have looked like through his eyes and what were the stories would have told?
Eventually, after time spent in character, I came up with two images; first I imagined a younger CC, before the second world war he would more than likely have found himself faced with as did my family. He would have been living in Saskatchewan on the farms, a part of my families history long gone. Later on I experimented with make-up and lighting – coming up with an older version of that same CC; I imagined him to be a quiet sort of man – a hard worker and dedicated to his family. Perhaps he would have been a single and solitary ‘bachelor’ – who knows – but I did enjoy the process and the outcome. The photo is very much a tribute to the past and my family which has always provided me with a source of fascination and inspiration.
I’ve also included a shot recently taken by myself, as I tested out my camera and some costumes I had borrowed for a different shoot. Let me know what you think – it’s a sort of alternative to this idea; more decadent, outlandish and luxurious - definitely a sort of character from that time….