Until I was six years old, I grew up in an orphanage in Rudnyy, Kazakhstan, a sparsely inhabited, dark and dreary country located in central Asia. In 2003, I began my journey to a new beautiful country, America, with my new parents. I was immediately thrown into a melting pot of other children who were learning English when I was placed in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). This only made me more fascinated with other individuals who came from different backgrounds and heritages. Having once been a foreigner myself, I can relate to these individuals on a more personal level. Culture has shaped me to be the person I am today. More importantly, it has sparked a creative energy.
Map of Kazakhstan in Asia
I can best explain this energy by contrasting my life in the orphanage and my life here in America. Back in the Kazakhstan, everything was a dull, black and white photograph. Coming to America, everything in my view became a kaleidoscope. This sparked my interest in photography at a young age. Ever since, I have taken photos and videos of many places and individuals.
Orphanage in Rudnyy, Kazakhstan
Morning of Adoption - February 18, 2003
According to the adoption documents, I am half German and Ukrainian. Ever since I came to America, I have longed to learn about my background and culture. However, as I got older, I knew that only staying in America was not going to suffice. I needed to travel somewhere that could provide insight to my past.