Daria Garnik

Time stands still in the village of Gagarin. It is named after the famous Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin, once the symbol of the scientific ratrace of the Cold War. Daria Garnik (Russia) shows how the village is stuck in nostalgia, pining for a lost age in which progress seemed boundless.


The village of Gagarin in Western Russia is named after the famous astronaut Yuri Gagarin. On April 12, 1961 he was the first man to orbit Earth in his spaceship Vostok 1. It was also his last space exploration. In 1968 his jet fighter crashed during a training round.

Daria Garnik (Russia, 1986) visited Gagarin and documented the ways the astronaut’s spirit is still present there. After his space trip, the village opened a museum in his name. After he died, people even changed the village name. Until then it was named Gzhatsk, after the river that runs through it.

Garnik studied art criticism and documentary photography. Since 2013, she has been working as a freelance photographer. Her photos show a village that is stuck in nostalgia, pining for a lost age in which technological and human progress seemed boundless. Yuri Gagarin was a symbol of the Cold War scientific race between Russia and the United States. Gagarin, who wasn’t even born in Gzhatsk, but in nearby Klushino, was of simple descent. In his astronaut suit he showed Russians they could break barriers and become anything they wanted to be. He was progress personified.