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Ukrainian Photographer captures a park bench for 10 years, shows a glimpse into Eastern European life

If benches could speak a lot of interesting tales we’d know today

Photo: Yevhen Kotenko

Imagine that local bench you see from your window could speak? What secrets and stories would it reveal? We will never know, but this photographer at least tried to make a chronicle out of it. Ukrainian Yevhen Kotenko wondering the same thing has decided to spend a whole decade on this one cool project, to capture the life that happens on a local park bench. It is a very intimate project, showing all aspects of life in Ukraine, from teens, elder people, police interventions, local alcoholics and everything you could imagine. He has shot the same park bench for 10 years and while its paint changed, some things remained the same.

“I didn’t give myself any time limits or goals, I just went to the kitchen and looked out the window,” Kotenko said. “Usually there was something to see.” Although Kotenko claimed he has fond memories of the neighborhood he grew up in, “there were a lot of bad things, too, that are better not to think about.”

“The worst thing was seeing people I went to school with drinking on this bench, then crawling home like reptiles. I was scared that if I went outside, I’d become one of them.” Kotenko said the subjects he captured were oblivious of his camera. “Some people laughed, others complained that I just focused on the alcoholics.”

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