Photographer Kristina Varaksina moved to the United States in 2011 at the age of twenty-nine hoping to find a new home. In the past six years the artist has lived in many different homes, moved often and traveled frequently between San Francisco and New York. Despite working in the US, being involved in the art scene, and immersing herself in social life in America, Varaksina still can’t consider herself “American”. Her childhood and adolescence in the Soviet Union and post-soviet Russia could not be more different from those of her Americans friends. While having partially adopted an American mentality, she has still kept her inner Russian, which puts many things in a different perspective. However, on visits to Russia, Varaksina can’t feel at home there either – everything has changed, everyone’s life is different now, and some aspects of the Russian mentality now feel completely foreign.
Where do I belong? is a reflection of the feeling of not belonging anywhere. While traveling through many different countries and cities, the photographer Kristina Varaksina stayed at and took self-portraits in strangers’ homes. Each of the portraits reflects feelings of alienation and the desire to fit in, in some cases by literally trying to blend in with the environment. Making only minor alterations to the interiors, the artist tells a little story about each home, trying to imagine what life would be like living there.
All images in the series are united by a warm color palette and subdued tones, which reflect both the warm feelings of home and a dreamlike state. The latter is taken further by the addition of a cloud in each image, which signifies the surrealism of the situation – these are only imaginary lives in the homes of strangers.