Another fascinating encounter in Ukraine. Another of my Russian teachers, if only for 5 minutes.


The meeting with Alexey was already a special one, when it led to a true revelation. Along with his lovely wife, Alexey had yet another person for me to meet.

Yuri, retired physicist, now in his 80s like his lifelong friend Alexey. Yuri has spent much of his life, and litterally each and every day of the last 20 years, drawing. Not amateurish sketches, but mind blowing pieces of art. Hundreds. Probably thousands. Most of them gathered in series: stories from the Bible, Don Quixote, etc. A vast, unique, yet undiscovered talent. Undiscovered because Yuri never sought fame or recognition. Yuri never promoted, exposed or published his work. Yuri never asked for likes. Yuri has always been motivated by nothing but his own personal need to express his inner world and how he sees ours: a kaleidoscopic world where there’s no border between reality, imagination and dream, where it’s perfectly normal for animals to engage in human activities and where humans, animals and fantasy creatures together create a complex and extremely fascinating universe. Just as if Dante Alighieri’s “Divine comedy” had been illustrated by Leonardo Da Vinci’s pencil.

A few examples of Yuri’s masterpieces.


Walking in the park outside the Ivan Franko University of Lviv, Ukraine. I see an interesting man coming towards me. Not only does he seems quite photogenic, but a gut feeling tells me it’s worth trying to chat a bit with him. I was right. Here is Alexey, 82-yr old matematician with a special interest for geological processes.

Having being “thrown out” of his position long ago for reached age limits did not stop him. With undiminished curiosity and passion, he still works long days applying his mathematics to reveal connections between geological processes on Earth and astronomical factors. Things don’t happen by chance, says Aleksey. Almost as if the fact that I, a geologist with a camera, came across Alexey didn’t happen by chance either.

It took only a short chat that cold February morning for Alexey to invite me home that very same evening. If I thought he was photogenic, I just had to meet his his wife: “the most beautiful woman in the world”. Talking about undiminished passion..

в Украину

Train to Ukraine. Instants of February 2018.