November 2018

A Carp in the Tub

Louise Hagger, Personal Work, Printed

A Carp in the Tub is an artist collaboration by Photographer Louise Hagger, Food Stylist Victoria Granof, and Prop Stylist JoJo Li. In words, pictures and recipes, it tells the weird and wonderful story of Granof’s winter-long journey to adopt her infant son in Ukraine.

The work is presented as a set: a folded poster and a booklet. Inside the booklet are a suite of seven photographs with corresponding recipes, and a not funny-but funny essay written by Granof.  The poster unfolds into an A3 size to reveal the carp in the tub.

A Carp in the Tub is now available in New York and Japan, it is stocked at The Photographers Gallery MagCulture, Donlon Books, Tipitin Books, Tender books  and Magazine Brighton and is also part of the Self Publish Be Happy library.


Once, she arrived with nothing more than a bottle of vodka and half a loaf of black bread.  That time we ate the pork fat – Salo – sliced thinly, accompanied by raw garlic, black bread and ice-cold vodka.

Honey Cake:

It was then I discovered the nurses had been washing and reusing some of the Pampers, whilst selling the bulk of them on the street — along with the honey cake.


Occasionally Sergei would ask me to translate rap songs by 50 Cent (which he pronounced “Fitty”) and a tomato jar would explode.  The freakish chihuahua barked incessantly.



“If you want to take a bath, do it today; I’m bringing the carp tomorrow and it lives in the tub till Easter,” said Natalia helpfully.  WAIT.  Easter is three months away.


Every radiator at the Khruschyovka was colonized by ends and crusts of dark bread.  Once rock-hard, Natalia used them to brew kvass.  We suspect she got the scraps from the orphanage – or the trash.


She was poor but that was no excuse.  I suspect that even if given free access to high quality ingredients, Natalia’s borscht would still be awful.


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