‘be happy!’ leads directly into the wild hustle and bustle of a group of young people in Russia. Nightly booze-cruises and parties in deserted demolition houses with unbridled alcohol and drug use, with sex, violence and pornography. The storm of youth rages within the clique going full blast.
Igor Samolet shot this series between 2011 and 2014 in a small city on the North of Russia with a population of about one hundred thousand citizens. He portrayed a group of young people who once went to school, to university, who even graduated but nevertheless got struck by the desolate social circumstances they’ve come from. Samolet states: “They didn’t fight the conditions; they tried to ignore them under the affect of alcohol and permanent celebration.”
The photographer didn’t want to turn this project into a social drama, he rather aimed to focus on the feelings that are so important in a young age – love and friendship. He says: “The guys’ youth, openness, and eagerness with which they had lived every single day attracted me. I thought they could endlessly run, jump, drink, and have sex.”