Alexey Titarenko has photographed Saint Petersburg since he was 8-years-old. In fact, he says, he has dedicated his whole life to the city. Titarenko sees his photographs as reflecting the history of his city, and Russia, over the past 20 years.
“Through the prism of my native city, I attempt to show events that occurred not only here, but throughout the country - the changes, the catastrophies, and the human tragedies, which have swept this city and the people of this land.”
In the 1990s, Titarenko was working on a series of photographs about totalitarianism, centered on the signs and statues that were crumbling around him as Soviet communism failed. Poverty spread as rationing was introduced.
“Food was rationed. To obtain food in exchange for the ration tickets, people would run from one store to another, with a desperate air, and their eyes full of sorrow. I’d place my camera at the subway entrance and take photographs.
“The activity around the station, which was located in a shopping district, overlapped with the sensations I felt when I listened to certain musical compositions, Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony in particular, the movement entitled “At the Shop”.
“The mass of people flowing around the subway station formed a sort of human tide, giving me a sensation of unrealness, of phantasmagoria, These people were like shadows, one would meet in the Underworld. I decided to express that feeling in my work, to convey my personal expressions. I had to find a visual metaphor that would enable the viewer to share my feelings as acutely as possible. That is what prompted me to try a long exposure process.”
Titarenko’s pictures were haunting, disturbing, like malevolent ghosts crowding the frame. He called the series City of Shadows,
Via My Modern Met. With thanks to Tara McGinley
More hauntings pics, and rest of documentary on Alexey Titarenko, after the jump…