New East Digital Archive

Living space: an intimate portrait of students growing up together

Lialia Gimadeeva's photo diary features her friends in student dorms

Photographer Lialia Gimadeeva started her visual diary in 2008 when she to moved to Kazan in Tatarstan to study. For some time she lived in a student dormitory, whose small rooms accommodated a journey of self-discovery via photography. “When your roommates are girls just like you, it’s a great opportunity to explore yourself, see how your femininity develops in your first living space away from your parents. How during these games of pretending to be adult women, sexuality emerges,” explains Gimadeeva. “Like everyone at that age we were looking for ourselves, trying out various ways of communicating with the outer world, particularly with men.” Gimadeeva’s series is also about searching for intimacy in a place crammed with human lives. “Your life does not belong to you, it belongs to the neighbours, the walls, the ears, the kitchen,” says Gimadeeva. Documenting a fragile sense of self in a place like this was one of her main goals.