Siarhiej Lieskiec (Сергей Лескеть). Milkmaids of Belarus
I was surprised to see that state ideology often sees the Soviet time as sort of golden age. Like in the previous epoch, there were contests held for the best workers or the most forward working collective. In the last 20 years Belarusian society has been moving from institutional to personal but ideology keeps addressing the collective memory of the past. I did two series of portraits of the participants: how they see themselves in their most beautiful outfits, and in their official uniform. If you put those two photos together they look like different people.
The atmosphere was festive but I felt a little sad. I noticed how dismissive the local TV correspondents were towards the women and I think they felt it as well. Unfortunately, regardless what we see in the media, there is hardly enough respect for hard labour in our society. And for the contestants their work at the farm is often not just their choice but the only way to survive and earn a living in the village.