Mikhail Tolmachev

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Pact of Silence

21 photographs, archival print,  sound installation, 2016
Soviet photo albums often bear the traces of torn-out photographs, a measure taken primarily to protect the owners by expunging images of individuals who had become victims of the repressive machinery. When a photo album from the Solovetsky forced labor and prison camp (1923-1939) changed hands, transitioning from private ownership to the collection of a historical museum, 21 photographs were either partially or entirely torn out.
I photographed the areas where these images had once been, capturing the remaining traces on the pages of the album. Collaborating with historians and researchers, I attempted to interpret these missing photographs.