/ Yana Pirozhkova / Photo story

My dad is a school bus driver

This project was conceived as a story about rural school students – it’s something I’ve always been concerned about as I grew up in a village myself and learned rural life the hard way. However, it also turned out to be a very personal story – hurtful at first but ultimately liberating – of my complicated relationships with my dad. A traumatic event in childhood left me with the ‘disliked daughter’ complex – I had always felt like my father had never loved me enough, if at all. One day, I realized I had a chance to face and solve my inner demons through photography. I headed to my home village and persuaded my father to take me to his work so that I could get to know him better, understand him, and see the life he lived. My dad is a school bus driver. Despite being past the retirement age, he keeps working. Every weekday, he goes around small villages, collects school children and gets them to school.

Not only did this project help me overcome my traumatic memories of the village school through observing the children and talking to them, but it also allowed me to mend the relationship with my father, bond with him, get to really know him, open myself up to him, and realize, importantly, that if someone can’t express their love, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you.

Yana Pirozhkova (1986) was born in Perm Krai, Russia, but now lives in St. Petersburg. She has a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and has worked as an architect in Perm and Yekaterinburg. In 2010 she moved to St. Petersburg, where she got into film photography. Right now she is enrolled at Fotografika photo academy in St. Petersburg.