In 1948 my great-grandfather was imprisoned in a Russian forced labor camp known as the Gulag, an acronym for the title "Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies" Surviving this life event pushed my great-grandfather beyond the limits of civil society, rationality, and empathy into a world that author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called, "an unassimilable spiritual earthquake which not every person can cope with." Like millions of others, my great grandfather took a journey into the "Gulag country," a place beyond "vision" or "understanding." In the fall of 2012, I too traveled to the Gulag country, in order to trace the footsteps of my great-grandfather. Being Close to Far Away explores a post-traumatic environment in Vorkuta, Russia, a former location of the Gulag, and the camp where my great-grandfather was imprisoned. The Gulag was shrouded in secrecy by the Soviet Government until the death of Stalin, and my great-grandfather disappeared behind this shroud for seven years (1948-1955). This thesis project is in part to reclaim those years; for him, for myself, and for my family. I photographed the prison sites extensively. I did so in order to explore the traces and scars of the Gulag.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Documentary photography--Russia (Federation)--Vorkuta (Komi); Prisons--Russia (Federation)--Vorkuta (Komi)--Pictorial works; Photography, Artistic

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)


Lieberman, Jessica

Advisor/Committee Member

Steinberg, Loret


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TR820.5 .T854 2013


RIT – Main Campus

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