Ever since I was a child Russia has fascinated me. The reason for this may have been all those old Russian fairytales or the simple fact that, when compared to other parts of the world, I hardly knew or, to be more exact, I do not know a lot about the real Russia.
As a child I imagined Russia as a snowy fairytale land, as a country where people cuddled up in warm furry blankets ride horse-drawn sleighs. As I grew older I kept reading a lot of Russian classics such as Anna Karenina or The Seagull. Of course, I had a very romantic and unrealistic image of Russia in mind, and the older I grew the more I started to realize that things actually weren’t this way in reality. But to be honest, up until today I don’t really know much about life in Russia and I still haven’t been there.
The other day I found this article about Frank Herfort, a German photographer who lives and works in Moscow and Germany.
He’s spent over a decade in Russia, photographing public spaces. The thing that immediately caught my attention was the name of his Russia photo series. He called it “Time-In Between – Fairy Tale of Russia”, which of course reminded me of my own image of Russia.
His photos are mesmerizing, but at first glance it’s pretty obvious that the Russia he portrayed doesn’t have a lot to do with the Russia I had in mind.
In an interview with lensculture.com he claimed that his “Russian Fairy Tales” project focuses on something he can’t really describe himself. He said that it started off as a project about waiting rooms and public spaces in Moscow but then turned into something else over time.
There’s nothing glamorous about his pictures and they definitely don’t look like the Tsar era I’d always relate to as a child. He captures people in their everyday life and places without staging them. Nevertheless his photos turn out to be something magical and will make you mesmerized right away.
All photos by: Frank Herfort!