City-view Photography: Developing Kyiv’s Vernacular

Author: Ievgeniia Sarapina

  • City-view Photography: Developing Kyiv’s Vernacular


    City-view Photography: Developing Kyiv’s Vernacular



The article deals with vernacular city images as an important part of the city’s imaginary. By the 'vernacular environment' of Kyiv I mean typical urban landscapes and spatial structures, things that are regarded as familiar surroundings by the city's residents. It is also a mental construction that correlates in different ways with the physical space of the city. The dwellers' visions of the 'authentic' face of the city are largely non-reflexive because this environment is the unheeded background of their everyday practices. Moreover, the vernacular environment is an important factor in the formation of a sense of belonging to the city. This text analyzes how the contemporary image of Kyiv's vernacular developed on the basis of the first Kyiv guidebooks and photographs which reflect common places of citizens' imaginary and their collective memory. The paper discusses city-view photography as a medium that forms, reflects and develops the city's vernacular as a part of its dwellers imaginary. Having proposed several possible modes of reading the old city-view photographs, I claim that all of them operate on the basis of the gaze searching for recognition. The latter is an essential factor in the shaping of belonging. Erased in their monotony, everyday surroundings are characterised by the potential of a certain collective connection. Thus, seemingly endlessly replicated, the vernacular environment provides affective ties that fall within the scope of the collective imaginary.

How to Cite:

Sarapina, I., (2015) “City-view Photography: Developing Kyiv’s Vernacular”, Dandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network 5(2). doi:

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Published on
13 Mar 2015
Peer Reviewed