Heroes of our time: #Москвастобой (Moscow with You) will present a photo project on Moscow during the pandemic

June 13

The Heroes of Our Time documentary project is at #Москвастобой (Moscow with You) media platform. This project shows Moscow at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. See life in the capital through the eyes of five well-known photographers: Arsen Revazov, Margo Ovcharenko, Nanna Heitmann, Alexei Kiselyov and Georgy Pinkhasov. The project was initiated by the Moscow Tourism Committee.

“Our city experienced difficult times in the spring of 2020. Moscow residents were forced to change their lifestyles, to stop going to work, to stop walking outside and to stop meeting friends because of the risks of the pandemic. While staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus we were both hopeful and fearful for our families and friends. And the city beyond the window still lived through the efforts of many, without whom it could not get along. The Heroes of Our Time project is based on the desire to remember this difficult time and the stories of the people who became heroes in many way,” said Nina Gomiashvili, the project supervisor.

Each of our photographers is a master of their craft and motivated by this the project could collect artistic statements created in a variety of styles and in a variety of emotions.

Arsen Revazov chose several sites for his series of photos. He visited the VDNKh, Gorky Park, Neskuchny Garden, Novy Arbat, Kutuzovsky Prospekt, Tverskaya Street, the Garden Ring and Dynamo Stadium. His camera caught landmarks like Ostankino Tower and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the forest and upper reaches of the Yauza River, where Moscow’s natural beauty is so evident.

“While working on the project I, maybe for the first time, had the opportunity to photograph empty streets, deserted parks and unscreened facades. I began to enjoy it and could photograph 40 different scenes a day. I wanted to look at the city in a new way and it seems to me that I did that,” said Arsen Revazov.

Photo: Arsen Revazov

Margo Ovcharenko shot her series of photographs at several hospitals where doctors were struggling for COVID-19 patients’ lives around the clock, as well as in hotels. Doctors, nurses and attendants stayed in hotels to avoid contact with their families and to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

“In one hospital several employees asked me to photograph them together as a memento of this milestone in their lives. I think I will be proud of myself for managing this as a photographer and as a person, because it was emotionally difficult,” Margo Ovcharenko shared her experience with the project.

Photo: Margo Ovcharenko

In Alexei Kiselyov’s works, Moscow was a city whose usual pace was slowed down, took a respite, but did not stop. There are fewer people and cars, but still a lot of energy. According to Kiselyov, the project made him not only look at life in Moscow differently but also see his own work differently.

“I photographed people who walked their dogs every day like me. Then I started to find pockets of busy activity: take-away restaurants and delivery services. Since I have never been an event photographer I had to learn to speak to people on the street. The need to ask people’s permission to take a photo of them was a new and interesting experience. Some simply refused, some agreed with pleasure,” said Alexei Kiselyov.

Photo: Alexei Kiselyov

Nanna Haitmann’s first shooting location was the Church of St Nicholas on Three Hills. She also visited the telehealth centre on Likhachyov Street and spent a day at Clinical Hospital No 2 for Infectious Diseases in the department for pregnant coronavirus patients where she witnessed babies being delivered.

“At the beginning of the epidemic, which caught me in Moscow, I wanted to go somewhere deep into Russia’s regions, a remote place where the coronavirus wouldn’t find me, and work there, which is typical of documentary photographers who are eager to find new locations. However, it soon became clear that developments were affecting the entire planet and there was no place to hide. Also, I understood that it was interesting and important to photograph Moscow at this time,” said Nanna Heitmann. 

Photo: Nanna Heitmann. Magnum Photos

Georgy Pinkhasov took his first photos for the project in the courtyards near his home. He says that the working conditions were unusual: restrictions were imposed, above all on travelling around the city.

“It had been a long time since I worked under so many restrictions. Usually I have a free hand and I can decide on my own where to go and what to shoot. This time there were conditions and rules determining what was possible – I go where I can and not where I want,” added Georgy Pinkhasov. 

Photo: Georgy Pinkhasov. Magnum Photos

Safe travels around the city was possible thanks to a taxi aggregator in Moscow, which provided cars for photographers. Aggregator General Director Anatoly Smorgonsky was driving one of the cars; he carried project supervisor Nina Gomiashvili to shooting locations. He believed that the project managed to catch a historical juncture. “I have not seen such emptiness and silence in the city for 15 years. I hope it will never happen again,” Smorgonsky lamented.

The project will appear at: москвастобой.рф as early as Wednesday, 10 June. Viewers will see the entire Heroes of Our Time project. Arsen Revazov, Georgy Pinkhasov, Alexei Kiselyov, Margo Ovcharenko and Nanna Heitmann will present their vision of Moscow during this difficult time.

Source: mos.ru

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