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Alexander Chekmenev

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Psychiatric hospital

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        Psychiatric clinic, Ukraine, 1999. On the first trip, I filmed a report about the life of patients and medical staff. Filmed more than two dozen color 35 mm films. We spent the night in the same building where the patients live, but in a separate ward. In the morning I was surprised that both patients and service personnel and we were similar to each other. We laughed at ourselves, because in the department we were all equal. A nurse without a white robe was not offended and was not even surprised when I confused him with a madman. In the morning, shooting again with a modern automatic electronic camera at uncomprehending patients. Suddenly, on the fridge, I saw artificial flowers and immediately understood what a series should be. I got an old mechanical Rolleiflex with a black and white film out of the bag. I seated each patient by the window, handed a bouquet of artificial white lilies and asked "smile please". Then I ran into a big problem - not all sick people could smile. But I tried to make everyone laugh. Even the most difficult patients wanted to get a bunch of flowers and look into the camera. These people need very little, candy, a pack of cigarettes, the same flowers, or at least our smiles. They meet every new person as the children meet their parents, whom they have not seen for a long time. They remain as children who will never grow up. They are waiting for our attention. There is no trick in them, there is no envy, they cannot betray or deceive, it can be said that they live according to God's commandments. They are almost the same as we, only better.
        P.S. Later I transferred 100 black and white photos to the clinic for memory.

Alexander Chekmenev