Kickstarter Gold: Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums
A selection of prints and postcards documenting the strange beauty of Soviet-era sanatoriums
A little over a year ago, more than 787 backers took a leap of faith on us, helping us bring our first Kickstarter project to life. We wanted to create a photobook documenting sanatoriums — a kind of Soviet-era health spa meets hospital — but had no photographs to show.
We used the money raised on our first Kickstarter campaign to travel to more than 30 sanatoriums in more than 10 post-Soviet countries. The resulting photobook, Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums, will be available for purchase in autumn 2017. We're lucky to be published by Fuel, designers of the most exquisite books.
With the funds raised, members of our team travelled to Russia, Ukraine, Abkhazia, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Belarus, Moldova and Azerbaijan. The journey had its ups and downs. We were turned away by some sanatoriums but welcomed with open arms by others.
Along the way we slathered ourselves in mud, sprinkled magnetic sand over our bodies and immersed ourselves in crude oil baths. We stumbled upon new sanatoriums, snuck into others and climbed up hills to find the best vantage points for the best photos.
History lesson: What is a sanatorium?
During the Soviet Union, workers spent up to two weeks a year at sanatoriums, which are similar spas but with a strong medical component. The objective was to recover from the exertions of their labour so that they could return to work with renewed vigour. Our photobook is an examination of the utopian, socialist ideals that these sanatoriums were founded upon as well as their legacy. This is especially important given the current state of sanatoriums. While some continue to function, many have fallen into disrepair; others still have been completely modernised.
The original team includes Olya Ivanova (Russia), Dmitry Lookianov (Russia), Rene Fietzek (Germany), Michal Solarski (Poland), Egor Rogalev (Russian) and Claudine Doury (France). Unfortunately due to copyright issues Claudine's work will be offered in the book (forthcoming, 2017) but not as part of this campaign. We're also happy to have added two new team members. The first was Vladimir Shipotilnikov, a photographer from Ukraine who joined us on our travels as a volunteer assistant. His architectural photography blew us away so we decided to include a few of his pictures in our book. The second addition was Russian photographer Natalia Kupriyanova who had independently visited various sanatoriums in Russia.
Our photobook, Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums, will be available for purchase later this year. Although backers of our first campaign were offered the photobook as a reward for logistical reasons we're unable to offer new backers the book. Instead we're offering potential backers postcards, prints and a calendar featuring our favourite photos! You can choose from any of the photos in our Kickstarter campaign and we'll also send you a PDF of images to select from once you've chosen your reward.
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Risks and challenges
We're pleased to say that we've addressed most of the challenges in the first leg so this time round, things should be much easier and quicker. Phew!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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