On August 1, Dnipropetrovsk residents were offered to open their family albums and find photos of famous landmarks of the city taken in the 1950s through the 1970s. At the selection stage, which lasted an entire month, the committee received more than 200 photos from which it selected the most interesting ones (currently 55) and published them online (on websites and in social networks) to put them to popular vote, which will continue until September 8. Photos are evaluated in two categories: “This street and this building” and “Freeze frame (Photos of memorable local events).” In the first category, there are many photos which show entire residential districts being constructed, as well as buildings that now look radically different or have ceased to exist altogether. Of the freeze frames, the most debated snapshot is that of the large-scale celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union in 1972. Winning photographs will be posted on the official website of the Dnipropetrovsk City Council and may be used to make presentation products from the city council. All selected photos will be put on display at an exhibit which opens on Dnipropetrovsk City Day.
Oleksandr BEZNOSOV, Ph.D. in History, assistant professor of world history and a senior fellow at the Center of Ukrainian-German Research of Dnipropetrovsk National University:
“This initiative is very positive, because now we are losing a large array of similar historical materials, which severs the connection between generations. Often young people simply throw away photos from family archives which contain a lot of valuable information starting from the 1920s. In fact, there is still a great number of family archives valuable for history, an entire ocean of untold stories, people just need to get motivated to work with this material. And the period of the 1950s-1970s is extremely important because it was the time when our society was recovering from totalitarian system and was going through certain democratization. At the same time it was the period of economic modernization, a lot of new businesses and buildings were built and it all can be seen in photos. [In the family archives there are some photos that show the construction of the ‘House of Books’ – the first skyscraper in Dnipropetrovsk with reckless height for that time of 19 floors, as well as the photos of the first building of the Dnipropetrovsk National University, which has been completely renovated by now. – Author]. Especially given the fact that in the past few years the city has experienced negative transformations, many of the old buildings were destroyed, just take as an example the department store “Children’s World” in the city center [it operated from 1939 and was destroyed in 2009. – Author], which although was not an architectural model, but at least fit into this ensemble. Of course, such initiative should be popularized and the time range of family archives can cover the beginnings of photography era and up until 1991. The latest period is also very interesting and, unfortunately, we are losing information about it. That’s why we should look for these materials, digitize them, and create databases and special libraries. Otherwise, we simply won’t be able to go further.”