Personal Work: Democracy + Communism: Nat Geo :: Cuba + Bulgaria, in Layers: Paskova_Yana_009

Bulgarians' longing to see lands beyond the closed borders of their country festered during the Communist years. In the corner are a few American dollars on a desk at my parents' college apartment, on a street then called The Red Rose. A Sofia store called Korekom that offered a rare glimpse of Western goods - cosmetics, technology, toys, candy, alcohol, cigarettes and magazines otherwise absent from Bulgaria's isolated economy - motivated a strong black market demand for the U.S. dollar. Possession of it without government permission, however, left one open to  investigation, and a marked dossier that sharply diminished employment opportunities, and at worse, led to imprisonment in a forced labor camp. The foreground shows a girl taking orders in a late-night pizza joint with an atmosphere of American nostalgia, playing mostly American music from the 1980s and 1990s, in Mariel, Cuba in April of 2015.

Bulgarians' longing to see lands beyond the closed borders of their country festered during the Communist years. In the corner are a few American dollars on a desk at my parents' college apartment, on a street then called The Red Rose. A Sofia store called Korekom that offered a rare glimpse of Western goods - cosmetics, technology, toys, candy, alcohol, cigarettes and magazines otherwise absent from Bulgaria's isolated economy - motivated a strong black market demand for the U.S. dollar. Possession of it without government permission, however, left one open to investigation, and a marked dossier that sharply diminished employment opportunities, and at worse, led to imprisonment in a forced labor camp. The foreground shows a girl taking orders in a late-night pizza joint with an atmosphere of American nostalgia, playing mostly American music from the 1980s and 1990s, in Mariel, Cuba in April of 2015.