Ludmila Schnaiderludmila.JPG


North York

Please tell us about your career.

By profession I am a photographer. When I was 12, my family moved to Israel, so I received my education there. I graduated from the Institute of Arts, Department of Photography and Cinematography. In Israel, I worked mainly in film - I was a video editor in a film studio in the north. In Canada, I moved more in the direction of photography. I have a lot of diverse ideas and I created my own studio in which to explore them.

Where is your family from?

My great-grandfather and great-grandmother from my mother's side lived in the small village of Kazanka, Ukraine. When, during the revolution, there was a terrible massacre, our family members scattered around the world – some came to Canada, some fled to Kiev, and my grandmother went to Odessa, where my grandfather was born. The family was wealthy, and was therefore afforded the luxury Jewish observance, including having a completely Jewish home. The family was large, with many children. On holidays, they all gathered around a large table and the great-grandfather would lead the Jewish rituals. On Passover, he leaned on a beautifully embroidered pillow, like a king. The family owned a small soap factory, which they had to abandon to escape the pogroms. During WWII when they were leaving Odessa, one of my grandmother’s brothers said he could not believe that the Nazis can kill innocent people, and he stayed. He and his family, together with the other remaining in Odessa, were herded into a barn and burned.

How long ago did you emigrate? Why did you choose to live in North York?

I came to Canada from Israel ten years ago, mainly motivated by the fact that my parents live here. I chose to live in the Bathurst and Steeles area because that is where I established my studio.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I am happy that my work is also my favorite hobby. I am connected to the theme of war, and decided to make a gift for our veterans by creating their artistic portraits. I attend veterans events and photograph them. When I put these pictures on the internet, I realized that I know nothing about these heroes. So I began to visit them, to get acquainted with them, to listen to and record their stories. The result is a whole collection of images of our heroic veterans. I have been working since 2014 on charity project called "My dear veterans," which I devote all my free time to.

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone, who would you choose?

I am interested in different people, and I think that I would have a large table at which I would gather the great physicist Einstein, the writers Ilf and Petrov, the artist Marc Chagall, the famous comedian Charlie Chaplin, together with my great-grandparents. It would certainly be a diverse group, and to each of them I would like to talk about what I care about. However, I want to say that I would also want to look into the eyes of the villain, Hitler, and to ask him one question: "Why?"

What are your future plans?

To grow as a photographer, to organize my own exhibition. My first photo exhibition entitled "My Dear veterans" took place in November of this year. It presented not only the individual portraits of veterans, but photographs devoted to the events of World War II and the Holocaust. As long as these people are alive, you have to take the time. They are, unfortunately, leaving us, and history should not be forgotten.