/ Olga Bushkova / Photo story

A Google Wife

In 2011 my husband got an offer to work for Google in Zürich, Switzerland. Neither me nor my husband spoke German or ever lived outside of Russia. We rented an apartment on the top floor at Zwinglistrasse 17, twenty minutes walk from the Google office. I had a limited residence permit and couldn’t work for two years, so I stayed at home. We bought curtains, a table and some glasses. We met my husband’s new colleagues, Google employees, and their wives, Google wives.

I began to explore this community and myself inside it. One meeting was constantly followed by another, typically behind a table, during a brunch, a lunch, or a dinner… I started to question: What brought us together? Why are we talking to each other? Why are we laughing together, why are we eating together, why are we helping one another, why are we feeling lonely and isolated? Is the only thing that unites is that we all came to Switzerland from abroad and our partners work in Google? Is it that we are all Google wives?

A Google Wife starts as a series of unremarkable daily episodes: cafes, chairs, women, children, casual conversations. As the story unfolds, presenting itself as a cinematic storyboard, the book focuses on its protagonist: a young woman who followed her Google-engineer husband into a new country, into a new life.

Nothing apparently big or important happens on the pictures or between the pictures. Still, when observing them, small changes and differences come up. I’ve tried to structure the book in such a way, that when somebody reads it one gets to know the protagonist, to feel what she feels, to virtually meet her husband and other Google wives.

Olga Bushkova (1988) is a photographer living in Zürich, Switzerland, where she has moved from her hometown of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in 2011. Since then she has been working on two personal books: “A Google Wife” and “How I tried to convince my husband to have children”. “A Google Wife” was shortlisted in Unseen Dummy Award 2016, won the Fiebre Dummy Award 2017 and was consequently published by Dalpine.