dmitry markov – awkward age

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Dmitry Markov

Awkward Age



I grew up in a small Russian town in a family of factory workers. The part of the town where I lived was rough: the only available place of work (the factory) had been closed, and as an outcome most of adults drank much and we being left alone lounged away time roaming the streets. We constantly had fights and problems with a school and police. At the age of 16 I wrote an article in a local newspaper about my friends who were doing heroin. The article evoked a wide response and public attention and was rewarded. Thereby I got fascinated with journalism. At the age of 20 my new interest let me leave my native town and helped me to avoid those deplorable consequences which my friends come across with. By that time many of them were not already alive or were put in prison.

In 2005 by chance I visited a boarding school during one of my volunteer trips. In some months’ period I left the job in a newspaper and started working closely as a volunteer with non-commercial organizations and foundations which helped and supported orphans. I was getting on well with the youngsters from the boarding school, most of them had the similar problems I’d experienced when was of the same age.

In summer 2005 I volunteered in a boarding school for disabled children in Pskov region. I was very impressed by the actual state of thing regarding such children, by their hopeless living. Therefore I decided to move to Pskov region to start working with those children. During the next three years we successfully realized several local projects with disabled orphans. Effective 2009 we started a new project “Children’s village” where several elder children from the boarding school are learning to live on their own under the supervision of two tutors.

Looking at my foster children I often recall my own childhood. On the one hand I want to help them to avoid serious mistakes which could ruin or influence their further lives. It is not easy. This is the age when you think you know how to live properly, this is the age when you often ignore advice of the grown-ups. On the other hand I would like to draw the society’s attention to the problems of these children which are sometimes difficult to resolve alone without one’s help and support.



I was born in 1982, in Moscow region. After finishing school I studied at the Faculty of Philology and actively wrote for youth magazines and newspapers on a voluntary and part-time basis. Being a 3rd year student I left the University as I was proposed a position of a full- time reporter in one of the prints. Later on during four years, I worked in a Russian weekly newspaper “Argumenty i Facty” (Arguments and Facts) where most of my articles were devoted to social issues and youth’ problems.

Nowadays, I am a volunteer of several non-commercial organizations: charitable organization “ROSTOK”, education fund “ROOF”, fund “Detskiedomiki”, the Pskov branch of the “Russian Children’s Fund”, Austrian fund “Kleine Herzen” and several informal volunteer unions. The author of several albums, publications and photo exhibitions dedicated to the problem of orphanage in Russia. I am working as a tutor in the Children’s Village and taking part in the other current projects. We’ve been attracting many volunteers and are actively dealing with the region’s mass media and local social welfare authorities.

I hope that my photos have not the small share in drawing the attention of benefactors, volunteers and journalists. I do hope that they help the society to look at the problems of such children in a humane way.


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Dmitry Markov


67 Responses to “dmitry markov – awkward age”

  • Impressive and motivating. Loved it.

  • One of the very best stories I’ve seen in Burn.
    The intimate relationship between you and the youngsters and your knowledge of their circumstances and common experiences speak volumes.
    Photographically speaking I find it excellent and at least Nos. 12,17 are exceptional.
    I’d love to see more, much more in the future, will be following you closely.
    Congratulations my friend.

  • Fantastic essay, wonderful work, love it!
    Congratulations, Dmitry!!!

  • Floored! Honestly one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, from professionals on down. I really must see more, and will be following your work! Dmitry, keep shooting!

    —and Mr. Harvey…this is what is Burn is all about. Thank you so much for shining light on these stories we would all miss, I hope everyone else is as inspired to donate and promote Burn as I am looking at these photos….as soon as the IRS gets around to writing me a check…

  • A marvelous piece of work. I’ve been through it a few times now. And I’ll be through it again.

  • Great, great, great, Dmitry.
    Thank you so much for sharing… it doesn’t happen everyday to have to chance to look at such a marvellous, intimate, honest and inspiring work.
    Thanks a lot!

    Milan, Italy

  • Wonderful photographs of light. I love the sense of being close and intimate with the people, and yet they are “place-less” images at the same time.

    I have one critical comment that comes to mind. You have demonstrated your acceptance and intimacy with this group of people. I noted the photo with your photographs on the wall in the background, meaning you’ve spent some extended time and involved them in the project. This reminds me of Koudelka’s work in some ways. However, Koudelka achieved something at another level. His photographs showed his intimacy with the subjects and communicated the distance between them at the same time. There is a wildness that comes in, an element of surprise. I’d like to see more of that distance and element of surprise in this series. The people in these photos are surely like me in many ways, but how different are they? How is their world removed from mine? Just my 2 cents, so take it or leave it as you see fit.

  • Wonderful Dmitry. Loved every image. :-)

  • I enjoyed seeing your work first through PhotoPhilanthropy. Congrats on winning that as well.

    Love some of the new images you have added too.

  • to Andrew Gray

    Thank you for your note.

    I’ve already received similar notes and thought about it much.
    It is not an easy question and unfortunately I am not sure that I am able to form my opinion on that. Possibly I am simply not able to keep this distance. Possibly I am not interested in the things you are speaking about (hope you understand me I don’t want to hurt you).
    Yes, I am searching for themes which could show our consistency with these children. This is unconscious search you know. This is the thing that I am captivated by, this is the thing that comes from inside and I can not be indifferent towards to. This is my path and I follow it. I think it is not right to make yourself feel the other way and switсh on your brain when your heart is working. Perhaps I haven’t come yet to that and it will be a next step.

    I would like to thank you for you note once again.

  • nice work. much enjoyment of viewing here. I was reading a piece earlier about the ability of a photograph to excel beyond what it is. I think this sentiment is reflected well in your essay. well done Demitry. #15 in #14. Clever.

    I’m late to this particular party, All been said I think.


  • I’ve been looking at the essay for several times now, it’s beautifully done, thank you, Dmitry!

  • Brilliant light control added to greta rapport with subjects, just great.

    Nice one.


  • I like this work a lot; it has a delicate and respectful approach to a difficult topic, it’s clean, with excellent light use, a good variety of situations and sharp postproduction work.

  • This speaks to me, growing up under similar circumstances, different country, living around a dockyard that was shutdown, drugs, violence, crime, many old friends dead or in prison. I was lucky and ‘escaped’, both lucky that I found a direction to head in and lucky I didn’t get caught. It’s so borderline, so easy for a smart young man to make a stupid mistake that will cost him his freedom (in many senses). I love the picture of the potatoes in the bowl. Simple rewards.

    I think your story here reflects something that everyone must go through in life, firmly standing on ones own two feet, as it were, surviving. In a sense these kids are more fortunate than many, they’re thrust in the deep end, no choice. They already have the strength of character, just need to make it through the transition safely and they’ll be fine. I can feel your concern, a kind of deliverance, get them over this hurdle, this is the big one.

    In another way, as a parent, it shows the best we can do is prepare our kids for life, we can never live it for them. In that sense all kids of this age are intimately connected, I’ve seen those troubled looks from rich and poor kids alike.

    I actually ignored your photography and enjoyed the story. It wasn’t until I saw your prints on the walls that I realised how immersed in the story I was and how good the photography was. I had to go back for a second look! Thankyou for this piece.

  • Dmitry,

    This work is sublime. Your love for these kids is palpable, I can feel it radiating through my screen. I cannot wait to see where your photography goes from here but I imagine you may be the type of photographer who makes all of his subjects familiars.

    Wonderful work again


  • Thumbs up, Dimitry, superb work, these young men seem already so marked by life, and for life, one fears. It’s all conveyed in your pictures, while we may be searching for (or lacking) for signs that the awkardness will not grow into hopelessness.

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