The exhibition project has been based on the archive of negatives created by Yuri Galyov (1929–2006), a village teacher and amateur photographer. The archive, which comprises five hundred photographs, was passed to the members of the field anthropological studies in the village of Vozhgora in 2012. Throughout several decades Yuri Galyov documented important events in the life of his fellow villagers: weddings and funerals, welcome parties and farewell parties for young men joining the army, school holidays and village feasts. The photographs depicting the rural life in Vozhgora illustrate the general mental patterns, values and life-styles of the certain social and cultural group.

The display To Be Together deals with the social role of photography in the first place. Human relations captured in photographs provide us with an instrument to study historical and cultural memory, and thus, the amateur photographs by Yuri Galyov contribute to anthropological investigation of the family rituals and family cohesion in the widest sense: from kin relationships inside a family to social relationships in a separate local community. Analyzing body language – gestures, facial expressions, body postures, etc. of the depicted characters one can learn a lot about their mutual relations.

The pictures on display also raise once again a question concerning the aesthetics of amateur photography. This question – whether amateur photography can be considered to be art – has been causing heated debates since the late 19th century. However, as early as the mid 20th century sociologists introduced a new term “everyday art.” So, the amateur photographs by Yuri Galyov may not be works of art in their own right, but being brought together they create a vivid artistic picture.

The exhibition features over one hundred photographs (digital print from original negatives) arranged into several groups: Embraces, Grandmas and Grandchildren, Girlfriends, Friends and Buddies, The Dramaturgy of Meals and Feasts, The Rituals of the Transit, The Inner Circle and The Onlookers, Bystanders and Sympathetic People. Each section includes an accompanying text and photographs, which cover the corresponding topic best of all. In the photograph captions original grammar, spelling and abbreviations have been preserved.

The guests to the exhibition will be able to use an electronic presentation to find comments to key details of the pictures.

Organizers The State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO and the independent nonprofit organization “Propp Center: Humanitarian Study of Traditional Culture”