Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The story of a Russian, how he came to Michigan

Pawel Iwanow,  age 94
What is the first think you think about when someone says portrait photography? What I think about are wedding photos, city skylines, and school photo days back when I was in high school.
I decided to do my assignment on a WWII veteran I used to work with. He fought on the Russian side under Stalin reign in the 1940s.
When I got to his house the smell of cinnamon consumed my nose. I have never been to his house before and while looking around all I could see were Old Russian newspaper and mixed with medicine throughout the kitchen.
Before I begin telling you my experience about this assignment I want to tell you about the person in the photos.
Pawel,or Paul Iwanow, is not your typical grandparent. He came from a wealthy family of professors and doctors, but when Stalin came in control he took their wealth away. Despite having graduated from Moscow University with a degree in engineering and fluent in six languages, he couldn’t find a job because of Communist control.  In 1941, at the age of 20, Iwanow joined the Red Army. During the time he was at war he was hit twice in the leg, saw a lot of his country men die, and heard news from his mother that his father had been taking to the Gulag, which was a forced prison and labor camp. Finally in 1950 he got his chance to leave the Soviet Union by sneaking over to the American side in Germany. He used forged papers to get to the United States. He applied for citizenship in 1955 and got it. He is retired, from the Detroit Golf Club.

 Iwanow next to the tree he planted in remembrance of his wife.Oksana Iwanow died in 2009
Overall, this assignment for me was somewhat difficult.  When we were talking on the phone he said that he had a picture of him in the war but when I got there he didn’t have one. He was  hard of hearing so I had to speak very loud when talking to him. Other then that I knew how to set my camera controls and to get tight on his shoulders. I liked this assignment very much

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