Vitaly always had a taste for adventure — ever since the Soviet Union granted him permission to visit Germany on official business. His wife, though, was often too timid to go anywhere without him. Yet it is Lyuba who makes their home so homey upon his every return. And apparently, it is Lyuba who first suggests marriage.

In this fine art custom photomontage, Lyuba holds a traveler’s signpost that points in every which direction. In her hair is a Russian parachutist’s scarf tied into a bow. A passport is just under Vitaly’s heel. But there is much more to the story. Anatole, Vitaly’s son, recounts the extraordinary thing that happened when Vitaly Josefich Gershman and Lyuba Bensionovna Luria met as young children at his birthday party:

“Lyuba was three years old and Vitaly was nine. According to my father’s mother, Lyuba supposedly climbed onto Vitaly’s lap and said “I’m going to marry you.”  Nineteen years later just as the war was ending, my father and his mother were invited to visit a friend from their hometown Veliki Luki who now lived in Moscow. Lyuba was there. 

Needless to say, my father got very enthusiastic. He started courting her right away … writing her poems and letters, very romantic ones.”

An example of one of Vitaly’s love letters reads as follows:

“Dear Lya-lya,  We’re 650 kilometers apart. I think about the comfy nook where you are sitting right now, and my heart is warming, as if a warm beam has hit me from faraway Leningrad. Anything I do is now from the point of view of its relationship to your arrival. There’s nothing of significance here, but little things fill every day. Today is Sunday. I was going to do a lot of things but it’s already midnight and I haven’t done much at all.”

Even as a digital artist, I still can’t get over how truly uncanny it is that Lyuba fits on Vitaly’s lap the way she does. After all, this is just a picture of a memory …