Five photographers in Moscow

Kiosk in Moscow

Exploring a new location is a great way to improve your photographic skills and set boundaries to projects and plans that can otherwise expand with no real focus. It is also a good way for a group of established photographers to work together, each one tackling the same space with their unique take on the issues.

That is exactly what five of the six members of MAP6 have done, each looking at the Russian capital, Moscow. The resulting work by Mitch Karunaratne, Chloe Lelliott, Heather Shuker, David Sterry and Paul Walsh is on show at the Tower Gallery in east London until 10 May.

Here's a statement by each artist alongside a small selection of their work.

Mitch Karunaratne

Deep within the forest, the highly secretive Star City holds the soul of the Russian people. It is the home of the Yuri Gagarin Russian State Science Research Cosmonaut Training Centre, where Soviet and post-Soviet cosmonauts have come since the late 1950s.

Star City by Mitch Karunaratne
Star City by Mitch Karunaratne
Star City by Mitch Karunaratne

Chloe Lelliott

The Moscow Metro was built during Stalin's era to raise the confidence and prestige of the working classes. Today more than seven million passengers pass through its stations every day. The grand structures and opulent design mean these stations are known as "the people's palaces". The work focuses on the quiet moments between the energy of the crowd. In candid scenes touched with a sense of the cinematic, the solitary figures seem to adopt a statuesque poise lost in their thoughts.

Subterraneans by Chloe Lelliott
Subterraneans by Chloe Lelliott
Subterraneans by Chloe Lelliott

Heather Shuker

Russian kiosk culture arose after the end of communism in 1991, when entrepreneurs started to import goods such as cigarettes, chocolate and alcohol and, with no formal retail spaces, built kiosks along the streets. Today, these ubiquitous kiosks line the underground passages that transverse major streets or connect Metro stations in Moscow. However, the rapid growth in incomes and the rise in shopping centres, coupled with a government crackdown on the kiosks, have led to their rapid decline, and no doubt they will soon become a part of the past.

Kiosks by Heather Shuker
Kiosks by Heather Shuker
Kiosks by Heather Shuker

David Sterry

Soviet modernist architecture was born in 1918 after the Bolshevik October revolution. Massive increases in urbanisation led to new approaches to community living. The avant-garde constructivist movement promoted concepts that dictated that structure and function should determine building form. Functionalism and the machine, rather than aesthetics, were seen as the driving force.

However, this period came to a swift end in the early 1930s when Stalin's demands that architecture promote prosperity and pride required a return to scale, decoration and neo-classicism. This project captures some of those early constructivist structures along with later developments that rejected the constructivist dogma and those that owe their form to those early modernist icons.

The absence of idle elements by David Sterry
The absence of idle elements by David Sterry
The absence of idle elements by David Sterry

Paul Walsh

The Moscow Metro is a subterranean network that facilitates the rapid transit of passengers beneath the city. The circular line acts as a ring around the centre that runs in a perpetual motion. In just 29 minutes, it orbits the city before repeating the process continually. The unrelenting journey of the circular Metro train is without end; not unlike the journey of the people above ground, caught within the repetitive, cyclical events that shape life in the city.

Moscow Circular by Paul Walsh
Moscow Circular by Paul Walsh
Moscow Circular by Paul Walsh
Phil Coomes, Picture editor Article written by Phil Coomes Phil Coomes Picture editor

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