Boris Mikhailov was born in 1938 in Kharkov, Ukraine lives and works in the Ukraine and in Berlin. He is one of the leading photographers from the former Soviet Union. For over 30 years, he has explored the position of the individual within the historical mechanisms of public ideology, touching on such subjects as Ukraine under Soviet rule, the living conditions in post-communist Eastern Europe, and the fallen ideals of the Soviet Union. Although deeply rooted in a historical context, Mikhailov’s work also incorporates profoundly engaging and personal narratives of humor, lust, vulnerability, aging, and death. Case History documents Mikhailov’s perception of social disintegration ensuing from the break-up of the Soviet Union – both in terms of social structures and the resulting human condition, the social oppression, the devastating poverty, the harshness and helplessness of everyday life for the homeless. Mikhailov’s photography is a personal protest that doesn’t lead to the victory of social justice or any resolutions, for that matter; the homeless and orphans remain in the same condition they were pictured: abandonded by the country’s social safety net and, in most instances, with no positive prospects for the future.
Case History explores the deeply troubling circumstances of people who have been left homeless by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Set against the bleak backdrop of the industrial city of Kharkov, Mikhailov’s life-size color photographs document the oppression, devastating poverty, and everyday reality of a disenfranchised community living on the margins of Russia’s new economic regime. One of the most haunting documents of post-Soviet urban conditions, Mikhailov’s pictures capture this new reality with poetry, clarity, and grit.