Though Mikhailov considers the conditions of his particular place of residence for over fifty years crucial to his work, he is not providing a recollection of the specific history of Khar’kov, Ukraine — but rather bringing out the “condition humaine” of this city. Characterized by industry and Factories, by newly installed Coca Cola billboards as well as socialist architecture, Khar’kov provides the backdrop for Mikhailov’s moving portraits. He describes the decay of social structures as well as of individual lives. We witness street kids taking drugs, adults in search of food, trying to re-install their social self by cleaning their bodies in the artist’s own house. Despite the devastating poverty, the women and men in Mikhailov’s images look back at us with great dignity. Their eyes express an unbroken will to survive in a social system that has fallen to its lowest possible level Mikhailov depicts very warmly the harshness of everyday life in a society not as far away from ours as we mightthink.