The triumphal and tragically broken life of Yuri Gagarin – the first human to journey into outer space– made him the cult hero of the Soviet mythology and the central figure of scientific and atheistic propaganda of the USSR.
Immediately after Gagarin’s historic flight in 1961, his hometown of Gzhatsk opened a museum in his honor. Then, after cosmonaut’s tragic death in 1968 at age 34, Gzhatsk was renamed Gagarin. This photographic project began in 2017 and is ongoing.
Space exploration was a high priority policy of the Soviet Union and the subject of rivalry with the United States during the Cold War. Rapid developments in science and the achievements in the Space Race gave citizens of the Soviet Union a sense of great pride.
The figure of Gagarin, who was born to an ordinary family from the Russian outback, became conclusive evidence that “everything is possible”. The transpersonal nature of consciousness of Soviet people allowed every resident of the country to associate themselves with the smiling person in the cosmonaut’s helmet and the cosmonaut’s achievements.
Daria Garnik was born in 1986 in Ekaterinburg, Russia. In 2009 she graduated from the Ural State University with a bachelor’s degree in Art Criticism. Since 2013 Daria has been working as a freelance photographer prior to which she was a photo editor in local media. In 2016 she became a student of DocDocDoc — School of Contemporary Photography in Saint-Petersburg. In her works Daria is interested in the phenomenon of human memory and memory and changes of the surrounding landscape. An award winning photographer she is currently based in Minsk, Belarus.
Publications: Lenta.ru, Bird in Flight, Regnum.ru, The Village, Its My City, Photogrvphy Magazine, The Kiekie Tabloid, The Wired, The Calvert Journal, s-t-o-l.com, C41 Magazine, Phases Magazine, LensCulture, National Geographic, Landscape Stories Magazine.