Rafal Milach became completely fascinated by Russia and the seven people whom he followed intensively for years. 7 Rooms is the portrait of a generation of Russians who are trapped between the mentality of the old Soviet regime and the ambitious but uncertain Russia of the Putin years.
Gala, Lena, Stas, Mira, Vasya, Sasha and Nastya live in suburbs of Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk. These men and women, now in their thirties, can still remember the years of perestroika and glasnost, and the collapse of the Soviet Union which followed in 1991. They want to be free and to travel abroad, but they cannot afford the purchase of a small apartment.
They are proud, and neither poor nor rich. The central figures in Rafal Milach's exhibition are ordinary citizens who, despite their sometimes strange, colourless surroundings, seem to have needs, experiences and thoughts that come across as surprisingly familiar.
- Gala: "I like Russia because it’s unpredictable."
- Lena: "I had a dream about Putin. It was a bright, warm feeling."
- Stas: "What I like best about Russia is myself."
- Mira: "In the Orthodox religion there’s only heaven and hell. There’s nothing in between. It’s the same way in Russia."
- Vasya: "The difference is that once upon a time people knew what they had to say, but they couldn’t say it. Now you can say anything, but no one knows what to say."
- Sasha and Nastya: "The only way to die is together."
Rafal Milach (Poland, 1978) works from his base in Warsaw as a freelance photographer for periodicals such as Newsweek Poland, Polityka and Przekroj. He is a co-founder and member of the collective Sputnik Photos, and for over a decade has focused on questions surrounding the transition of countries of the former East bloc. He has received a number of awards for his work, among them a World Press Photo Award, Photobook Now and the Pictures of the Year International Award.
In 2010 the Noorderlicht Photogallery showed Milach's 'Ukraine by the Black Sea' as a part of the exhibition UKRAINE - In Search of a National Identity.