Tatsiana Tkachova
Viera's Seasons

PRAFOTA 2020 Documentary Photography Short-list
A little girl called Viera Ziańko from Valožyn, Belarus, was running forward, chasing the cart, in which a group of Nazi soldiers were carrying her pregnant mother away — so, they took pity and threw the woman off the back of that cart. Viera is 91 now, she refers to her life as "the last seasons" and tells the story of her life using the contents of her wardrobe as illustrations. Every dress she keeps in it has a particle of her memories and of her life in it. Viera and I met in a small Belarusian town called Valožyn while she was on her way to a pharmacy. She was wearing huge sunglasses, a checkered dress, crimson socks and shoes. That was love at first sight. I came up to her to get aquainted with her and, in five minutes, I was sitting at the table in her house while she was showing me her outfits and telling the stories behind them. Later, I came to visit Viera in Valožyn a few times, staying the night. She has lived here all her life. She saw the multicultural Polish town of Wołożyn become a Soviet town called Volozhin and, later, a Belarusian town — Valožyn. Her 4 brothers and sisters came to settle in various places in Ukraine and Belarus. Her brother Vasiĺ and her sister Voĺha have already passed away. The two remaining siblings are her sisters Nina and Halina (the youngest one). Their parents were of peasant origin — the mother worked the land, the father was literate and worked in what one would now call local government agencies. Viera stayed in her home town — got married here, took her husband’s last name, Pierapieča, had three children, worked and also raised her grandchildren.
Short-list 2020: