The Russian boy { 58 images } Created 28 Sep 2017

On Sunday the 23rd of July 2017 I went to Izmailovo flee market in Moscow and bought an 80s Russian camera to a lovely couple who had a stall there. When I came back to France, I gave it to my sister and when I wanted to show her how to work it out, I found out there was a film in it. I had it developed...

... And here I was, with a set of 19 black & white pictures from the 80s mainly showing a young boy at a celebration, at home, with other children and probably his family. Looking at the photos, I came out with this crazy idea : searching for the Russian boy in the photos and give his images back to him. They belonged to him not to me. 

I created an instagram account - Looking for the Russian boy - dedicated to the search and a Russian photo magazine - Rosphoto - published an article about my search and the photos. A few weeks later, I found him, or he found me rather! A friend of his had seen the pictures on social media and recognised him. She got in touch with him asking if he thought it was him on the images. At first, he thought it was a scam, a photo montage or something - he had never seen these pictures - but then he recognised his dad, his grand-ma, the school, the flat where he grew up. Then he wondered who I was, why would I do such a thing? He got in touch with via whatsapp, simply writing: “Hello, I am the Russian boy you are looking for, my name is Dmitry!”.

It was my turn to be in shock. I really didn’t think I would find him or at least so quickly and easily. He told me he was amazed by my gesture and grateful. “It’s a magic story”, he told. The second shock came when we met for the first time via skype! We happened to get on very well, at first sight. We talked for two hours, first about the photos, the story and the magic of it. The photos I got hold were his first day at school in September 1990. Dmitry was 6 and his uncle Yakov took the pictures. The camera Elikon was his. Yakov’s dad had given it to him hoping he would become a photographer. But he didn’t and became an a painter. The photos I found were the last ones he shot and forgot in the Elikon which laid, forgotten on a shelf for more than two decades. One day, Yakov gave the camera to a friend who unscrupulously sold it at Izmailovo market…

Then we talked about ourselves, our lives, our families and soon about the fact we’d love to meet each other in flesh. Well, that was my first : meet the Russian boy to give him his pictures. That’s what we finally did at the end of December in Moscow for a holiday we both will probably never forget and the beginning of a unique friendship. The full story can be read on my blog in both English and French: https://theaccidentalphotographer.me/category/the-russian-boy/

And also, I almost forgot… The story had a massive media coverage (France 2, M6, Russia Today, Russia Beyond, Mon Quotidien…). Dmitry and I found each other in November, it was like an ideal Christmas tale to tell.
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