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Synopses & Reviews
Even after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia remains a nation shrouded in mystery. The country's modern aesthetic includes vestiges of its past that combine and collide with its present, reflected in such unusual imagery as an ornate palace which now houses a hip-hop rehearsal studio, and the stained-glass windows of a church that immortalize the icons of the proletariat. Photographer Andrew Moore explores Russia's majestic beauty and paralyzing decay with striking honesty, often finding them in the same frame. Russia: Beyond Utopia is an intricate hybrid of modern Russia'sunresolved past and uncertain present, revealing a country on the cusp of a new era.
"This catalogue of 120 photographs documenting the traces that the Soviet Union left on Russia's landscape paints a rainbow-hued portrait of a somber country. The pictures of subway stations and airports, bridges and monuments and, above all, architectural interiors burst with vivid blues, reds, yellows and greens. Moore has a knack for framing shots that suggest the faded glory of yesterday's heroes, like a replica of an 18th-century statue of Peter the Great positioned next to a BMW and a neglected bust of Lenin next to a chained bear cub. A photo from the Fossil Room of St. Petersburg State University functions as a metaphor for the whole book: in it, lovingly displayed souvenirs of an extinct world exude a strange, warm beauty. All of the pictures were shot after 2000, and most of them focus on landscapes or objects, but occasionally Moore includes everyday people going about their lives. A few are of adolescents falling in love or getting married, while others show adults in their daily work. Yet the spaciousness of the interiors and landscapes that these men and women inhabit dwarfs their intimate human dramas and hints at the weight of history that is their burden. A short commentary by Fishman (Wild East), as well as notes by the photographer at the end of the book, give some context to these striking images." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Photographer Moore presents 120 intriguing color photographs of contemporary Russia that were taken during six trips, over the course of four years. Using a large format camera, he reveals the quality of extreme contradictions that make up Russia today: remnants of the decadence of Imperial Russia as well as leftovers from the Socialist dream, interspersed among views of the emerging capitalist democracy. The images come from varied regions: urban settings in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Yalta, Odessa, and rural areas that include Siberia and the Far East. Endnotes provide location and background information about each plate. Format is horizontal and oversize (12.25x9.75<">).
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Andrew Moore's works are represented in the collections of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Inside Havana was his first published monograp
Boris Fishman has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Nation. He was born in the former Soviet Union and lives in New York City. Visit www.borisfishman.com.
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Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Anthologies and History