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Captivating Portraits of a Fashionable Homeless Man in His Many Improvised Outfits

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For Slavik’s Fashion, Ukrainian photographer Yurko Dyachyshyn chronicles the daily stylings of a 55-year-old homeless man living in an undisclosed hiding place in the city of Lviv. Slavik changes his clothes at least once every day, pulling together outfits from items collected in city trash bins and homeless aid centers. With each wardrobe shift, Slavik restyles his hair and his beard, and he always shaves his armpits.

Dyachyshyn was first drawn to Slavik while working on a project in the city center, where the latter would approach strangers in hopes of collecting spare change. Soon, the photographer found himself snapping portraits of Slavik in exchange for one dollar per photo. Because Slavik most likely had some sort of mental disorder, it was difficult for the artist to gather coherent information about his life and history. What he did learn is that the most important thing for Slavik was to maintain a sense of “inner calm” amidst the chaos of the city.

Dyachyshyn visited Slavik at intervals ranging from a few days to a month or so over the course of two years. While it was difficult to know exactly where in the city Slavik would be at any given day, the photographer and his muse often found each other in the crowd. Slavik, who is not friends with any other homeless individuals, began to know the artist as a friend, seeking him out to show off his new outfit, beer and cigarette in hand. Sometimes Slavik would vanish for periods of time, only to return to the city and ask Dyachyshyn where he had been. The last time Slavik went missing was in January 2013, and although the photographer has not seen him since, he holds onto the hope that he will one day emerge to greet him.

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All images © Yurko Dyachyshyn

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