• Andrew Schwark

Russia in Photos

It's been almost 3 years since moving to and living in Russia. 3 years spent starting a family, enjoying banya, and taking lots of photos.


For a while I have been sharing some of them on Instagram as a way to keep friends and family back in the US a little informed about my life. As such, I've always felt pressured to post certain types of photos (mostly those with my children or people).


The rest have ended up in storage. But after a recent hard drive cleaning marathon, I discovered old material that I wanted to share in some manner.


This is my solution of sorts. On this website will live a page that I will periodically update with new and (rediscovered) old material. It won't involve any studio work, although there may be some more candid shots if I ever work up the nerve to ask the occasional comrade.


There won't be a strict style or look beyond the use of either 35 or 50 mm focal lengths.


Mostly it will be of the place I live - Ufa. It will also include the places I travel to or spend time in.


Finally, this gallery is mostly for me, to function as a digital memory bank. Snapshots of my life in Russia, colored by my perception and emotions, and saved in silicon for me to revisit and you, dear visitor, to explore should you wish.


-------


Russia is a fantastically big place. Distances that seem long to me are trivial for neighbors. With all that distance and space comes a wide variety of cultures, languages, ideas, and histories.


Some places are Muslim or Jewish. Others Christian. Some speak Russian and others Tajik. The food is as varied as the landscape, which range from the impressive mountains of Dagestan, to the frozen expanse of taiga, and all the way to the volcanic lands of the far East.


It makes me wonder, what exactly is Russia?


A tapestry? A collage or mosaic? Or is it more disparate, with all of these parts tenuously held together by the idea of Russia? An idea that itself cannot be fully expressed.


I won't attempt to answer that question, but I think by slowing building up an image I can start to resolve portions of the answer. Each image I add is another puzzle piece being slotted in, only this puzzle will never fully resolve itself. Someone else more insightful can take on that impossible task.


But I wonder dear reader, as you look through my memories, what image will you create of Russia?