Project Detail: The Select Few - A Summer In Orlyonok


Photo Story - Nera di Verzasca


Verzasca Foto


Anita Back



Project Info

The Select Few - A Summer In Orlyonok

"For most Russians Orlyonok enjoys an almost mythical reputation even in the far north of the country. For decades, well-to-do citizens of Moscow and St. Petersburg have considered it good form to send their children away for the summer months to this illustrious facility on the Black Sea. (...)

These (photos) are glimpses into a highly ambivalent culture, in which Russia's past, the abyss and pathos of socialism, are just as present as the everyday merriment and vitality of the Russian jeunesse dorée. (...) The faces of the girls and boys mirror the colorful beams of light from the summer sun. Most of the images are resplendent with the color of the turquoise sea and the richly luminous blue sky, apprehending at once the reason for the vacation camp's immense popularity. All the more stark in comparison are Anita Back's photos documenting monuments and edifices, weapons, war and space propaganda, and indoctrinating wall mosaics and inscriptions. It becomes quite obvious that uniforms, training and peer pressure are essential aspects of Orlyonok."

Excerpt from an essay on

"The Select Few - A Summer In The Holiday Camp Of Orlyonok"

by Joachim Jäger, Deputy Director of the New National Gallery Berlin.

„Orlyonok“ (small eagle) is not just a normal russian holiday camp, it is the biggest and most famous one in Russia. 800 000 children have been visiting Orlyonok since its opening in 1960. It is Orlyonok's duty to select and foster talented children. "The best thing is to the children" used to be the Soviet motto and similar to many other Soviet things this motto celebrates its renaissance.

The regional variety is as impressive as the children themselves. Every child wants to visit Orlyonok, because if you have been here, you are part of "the select few".