This photo has an interesting history, in that despite having taking it some time ago in Moscow, I have recently run across it in two different places! This shot was taken near Gargarin square on Leninski Prospect in Moscow. It's just around the corner from where I lived in 1995 when I studied abroad in Moscow that year. I was walking around the area, exploring how things have changed in over ten years, when I glanced over and saw the statue perfectly lined up with the smokestacks. This is the result, and I think a fantastic contrast between the monuments and realities of the Soviet state that on one hand glorified selected heroes like Gargain, yet filled it's neighbourhoods and backyards with heavy industry and the supporting structures needed for the military and these very space exploits.
Still the story does not end there. So two weeks ago I'm visiting Izmalovski Park in NE Moscow, "THE" place to go for souvenirs in Moscow, and one of my goals was to go back and look up a photographer whose work I bought back in 1995 if you can believe that. Since as long as I can remember there has been a man there selling black and white photos traditionally in very simple metal frames. His work is fairly simple, but I've also felt he better captured the realities of Moscow, than all the pseudo-artists that line the market with their pastel adventures. Despite not having been to this park since 1998, I figured the man was probably still there as I had run into two of his works at a friend's house in central Moscow about a year ago. Thus I set off and arriving at the park in -19C weather saw that despite the massive upgrades that have taken place in the market area, including the installation of a fake kremlin and dancing bears, the man and his photos were located right inside the front door. He was still selling copies of the exact picture I own, taken in 1994, and lo and behold there was "MY" shot...with Gargarin among the smokestacks, from nearly the same angle! So I guess I found one of his spots, which given how long I've liked his works, certainly makes one feel good.
BUT, it goes on...just one week ago, before my departure to back to London, I was downtown in Moscow at the Manage, basically a huge empty hall space for exhibitions right off Red Square, and what I was interested in: The Moscow House of Photography's regular exhibitions. They were showing entries from a 2008 photo contest in Moscow, called "The Silver Camera 2008" that was designed to be a visual reference of that point in time in Moscow. The claim was that there were no good visual records of Moscow in the 2000s, during a time of much change and development, and this sought to record some of these changes in progress. The exhibition had about 700 shots from a large number of artists, and I really enjoyed it, however halfway through I turn to look at the next wall......and again there is "THIS" shot...
taken by a local artist and apparently good enough to get selected by the exhibition. So my 2007 shot obviously has company albeit, pretty good company...let me know what you think...and if you like the above here is the rest of the exhibition on-line: