The society that is often in the state of half-oblivion and submerged in its own problems needs an injection to open its eyes to reality and help avoid cruelty and isolation. While working on this project, I met many families that have experienced sorrow, which has touched their lives with new feelings. The mothers of children born with this particular syndrome are carrying out their own life sentence.
In living with this condition, it helps to notice unusual things, but also to discover the things that are not seen, that had been hidden for a long time. I spent practically all of my time with different families in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.
I also lived in the village of Svetlana, which is organized for people with limited abilities. All of the necessary amenities were provided so that children could study, develop, and live a full, valuable life. They baked bread, took care of animals, built houses, and created and communicated beautiful feelings. During all the time I worked on the film, I came to love those people and their world – so deep, beautiful, different, sensitive, open and sincere at the same time. I heard poems and sayings, so strong and impressive – I still hear them in my mind. I saw their dances – they were natural, light, full of childish sincerity and light, but evoking beauty, pain and passion.
I looked into their eyes, eyes that expressed more than any book could tell, that could describe life and suffering with beautiful but cold words. If they laughed – it was real, if they cried, this could be more serious than anyone could imagine. Every movement, every thought of those people was filled with something light and real. They seemed to be with God. And God seemed to be with them forever.
How are they different if they haven’t lost the main thing that makes us human – the ability to love and to be happy – without fear or doubt, expectation or some shadow?
I remember the story of one boy. He looked completely insane and acted such that nobody thought that he could understand, cooperate, or be with other people. Once, after he had done something strange, the social workers started to discuss who was going to bring him up. At this moment his eyes became clear, he looked at them deeply and, understanding everything, and even more unsettling, he spoke: “Too many shepherds for one sheep.” These people are not like others. They behave differently, but sometimes their world is much deeper, more delicate and surprising. They are different, but we mustn’t let ourselves be so limited so as to keep so much distance between ourselves and everything that is different from the norm established by the majority.
Society mustn’t hide from its groundless fears. This makes children grow up into cruel teenagers who are able to hurt the weak, vulnerable, and less protected among us, because they don’t know what is right. Instead, they are lead by their own fear.
It is necessary to learn how to live with open eyes. Only like this can we learn to live without cruelty, pain, and isolation, opening our hearts to others with love, compassion, and grace.  Like humans do.


  1. Michael D. Davis

    Your work captures the poignant poetry of the people you been touched by Tatiana. Now your photographs touch those of us who are privileged to have you share them with us.


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