Little Odessa, January 19, 2013
image 15 x 11
The "Little Odessa" community in Brighton Beach, New York City is as much a state of mind as a location on a map. It is stuck between two worlds. It is a place of ceaseless nostalgic fantasy of countries left behind - a place where immigrants attempt to preserve what they once had in order to transition more smoothly into a life in America. It was in Brighton Beach during the 70s that Soviet immigrants forged a common bond through language and pop culture, thereby guarding an identity that prevents them from adapting to a new world. These cultural similarities echo in everything that the locals do and say - from what they eat and wear, to how they socialize and worship.
I have chosen to document this community because I, myself, emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine. As a result of this shared experience I can relate to my subjects on a very intimate level. The people of Little Odessa have embraced me like family. In many ways their lives mirror my own. Like them, I have struggled with identity and the disconnectedness experienced from attempting to reconstruct a world from memories of my past.
Uliana Bazar (b.1986) is a Ukrainian photographer based in Washington, D.C. She recently graduated from the Corcoran College of Art and Design with a Masters in New Media Photojournalism. While in school Uliana completed a 6-month internship with the National Geographic Book Division and now works with them regularly as a freelance photo editor. Her work has been published and exhibited numerous times including shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and has been recognized by FotoDC and the Magenta Foundation.