Photos Polina Merkulova
Text Ehtiram Jabiyev, Matthias Schumann, Stefani Streloke, Daria Tabakova, Aysel Akhundova, Yelena Sargsyan, Meike Krauss, Lucy Weber, Vahid Aliyev, Marim Mkrtchyan
The most important thing for me is a good notebook. I use it so often, that I buy a new one every year.
In my notebook, I write my yearly and daily goals, and my dreams too. I like to check them off once they are done. Every notebook contains a list of films and books that I would like to see or read. There are also lots of sketches, for example I like to draw the faces of strangers.
The body piercing
I got the piercing in Argentina, when I was travelling alone for the first time. I got this piercing because I liked how it looked on others. So, I decided to get my own. It is a symbol that will always remind me of this trip.
I mostly remember the good times from the trip, the people I met, and the independence I felt. I took responsibility for myself, solved every problem, and made it through some difficult situations.
My plugs have a secret meaning. Some people just get the large gauge cut and have instant results, but I refused to do this, and I stretched the holes myself from 1 to 14mm. It’s a symbol for how stubborn I can be.
I have worn it since April 23rd, not because I am engaged, but to remind me of my sweetheart. Regardless of where I am or where I go, it is always with me. I don’t care what people think.
When I was 10 or 11 years old my parents gave me my first phone. It’s like a treasure to me.
Now my telephone is one of the most important things, for staying in contact with my friends, my parents, and the outside world – that’s why it’s so important to me. Modern technology also gives us the possibility to receive important news. I love my phone and use it for many tasks: I take photos, make videos, and I share them with my friends. My phone is almost like my other half, because it is always with me. I even have it with me when I sleep.
These wristbands come from my favourite alternative music festival. It takes place in Germany, not far from the borders with the Czech Republic and Poland, we call this place “the corner of three Countries”. I first went there when I was 8 years old. Since then I’ve been back almost every year, more than 15 times total. You could say these wristbands are as old as I am. I love them a lot.
This is my mother’s scarf. For me it’s like my mother’s warm hands. It reminds me the place where I spent my childhood. I really like the colour and there are some horse carriages on it. It is really nice.
What I really love and what I have here and at home, are apples. I’m not only a fan of the computer, but also a fan of the fruit. I grew up in a village, where there were many different apple trees, with many different varieties, each with their own taste. Some for the winter, some for summer – an apple for every season. I eat apples every day. There’s a funny English phrase that says: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
I don’t like apples that are too soft or too hard. A perfect apple has the balance between sweet and sour. I also saw apple trees in the Friendship of Peoples Park.
Once I was in a shop with a friend and I saw this bear. It was really nice, but pretty expensive. But in the end my friend bought it for me. I have had it since 1989 or 1990, but it still looks great. I have travelled around the world with it and I put clothes to keep it soft. When I first saw it, it looked like a pilot because it was made for an airline. It was dressed in a white t-shirt, a brown leather jacket, a pilot helmet and big retro-goggles. Now it’s dressed in summer clothes.
Although I’m not a teenager, it’s with me through all the difficult times. When I have it near me, I feel like I am at home.
Keyring, key and flash-drive
My important things are held together by a keyring. This is a flash drive of the Formula 1, that took place here (where I worked as a photographer), the keys to my friend’s apartment and the key to the place where my work is displayed. The keychain was given to me by my girlfriend for my birthday. It also happens to be the day, when we met each other.