This site is our response to everyone who has ever asked us what Russia is like, and for anyone who might have never wondered, but should have. It’s an attempt to put into words Russia as we see it; our go at explaining that big old riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, that in fact, never went away. It’s about understanding the views, opinions and psyche of a nation that hits our headlines daily, without many of us ever really knowing why. And ultimately, it’s about providing a picture of Russia, as seen first-hand by two people, who think that although the journey they’re on to try and understand this country might never end, the process itself is worth sharing.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Portraying Petersburg

Photo: Boris Smelov, "Spirit of the Neva"
The Hermitage Museum is currently hosting a retrospective exhibition of the works of Boris Smelov, the quintessential Petersburg photographer. The exposition comprises more than 90 black and white photographs that together make up a sort of love song to Petersburg and how it appeared in the final quarter of the twentieth century. Boris Smelov was born in Leningrad in 1951 and lived there until his death in 1998, by which point it had of course become Petersburg, forever documenting this ever-changing, yet strangely constant city. He is accredited as one of, if not the most, important Russian photographers and his influence can be seen in the works of other more contemporary artists. The Hermitage Website him thus:

He was a living classic who evoked veneration from all who were somewhat connected to the art of ‘photography’. Critics and professional photographers unanimously acknowledged Boris Smelov as one of the best European masters of photography. The image of St.Petersburg that he created is not only high quality photographs but, undoubtedly, the most eloquent utterance ever said about that city at the end of the last century, the utterance that can be equal to Brodsky’s poetry in its significance.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the exhibition:


Silver Boy

Fontanka in Winter


Fan of Sour

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