Documentary Photographer Lilia Li-Mi-Yan is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From her project and book ‘Masters and Servants‘. To see Lilia’s gallery of projects click on any image.
In rich houses Service Personnel such as maids, butlers, cooks and gardeners have been working at all times. All those professions took their places in world service industry, but in Russia those professions are still second quality occupations.
For applicants these types of work are something temporary, even a little bit shameful. Employers, in their turn, want to find someone who will do quality work. They evaluate professional skills of an applicant, realizing and suggesting that personal problems and issues of servants should be left behind.
And the moment comes when a new and yet absolutely unknown person appears in the life of a family, a person who should become irreplaceable as well as invisible, a person who will know daily routine better than anyone and at the same time will keep silence. He had and has his own life and ability to hide it is an important element of his professionalism, which allows him to keep distance.
Where is the edge when shown interest of one and hospitability of another do good, keeping meanwhile a certain barrier, safety and independence barrier? After all, knowledge leads to attachment, but that’s an absolutely different story.
There are stories of house owners and their servants. I didn’t change their places, showing their daily life. I wanted to lift the veil, putting in the foreground questions, “Who are these people?” “Where are they from?” “Where did they study?” “Do they have a family” “Why are they here?”
By Lilia Li-Mi-Yan