Accepted Paper:

Reconstructing the Local Past: Family album and Tatar village  


Ramina Abilova (Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper describes using Family album as the instrument for reconstructing the Local Past. Family photo albums help us trace the history of the Tatar village and depict some aspects of its life.

Paper long abstract:

The family albums take a special place among memory repositories. They are material artifacts focused on the information space of the past. In villages photographs were not available for a long time. The tradition of taking photos was gradually developing to become a part of life of the rural population. Therefore, the family photos of villagers are of great interest to us. This article presents findings from a field study of the family photo albums of the Tatar rural population. A field study for empirical data was conducted among the Tatar residents of the village of Upper Shemordan in Kukmor district (The Republic of Tatarstan, Russia) in the years 2011-2012.

Family albums help their owners to save the memory of the family's past. It is important to learn much about each album, its content, context. Albums depict, first, important stages in the family life and their domestic mode of life; second, the professional activity of villagers: their work in kolkhozes and at construction sites; almost every family has photographs from various festive occasions: they include photos of national and regional holidays and family gatherings; photos depicting religious holidays' celebrations have not been identified. It has been found out that albums contain photographs fixing social life. In many photos one can see some symbols of the Soviet power. Through albums, "the infant world" of the Tatar village can be revealed. The photographs provide a visual representation of the village scenery: in social and cult buildings and private houses.

Panel P28
Photography as a research method