My first encounter with photoessays was possibly one of the most famous photo journalist projects in the world of photography: Dennis Stock’s James Dean. Whilst the backbone of the series was Dean’s screen persona, what attracted me to this project was the step by step unraveling of identity; the potential to explore the different faces of one identity. Of course, with the absence of a screen persona, I decided to do what Leibovitz recommended in her book: At Work. Start with those close to you. Moscow, my birthplace, remains an integral part of my identity. However as identity evolves, so does perception. Coming home each time is like seeing the city again with new eyes. During this recent visit I was reminded of how rare it is to see Moscow in street photography projects. Yet the world of photography is full of cities; Bresson’s Paris, Leiter’s New York are two of a labyrinth of famed photo series. My year-long project of photoessays therefore contributed to my creative discovery of the city within myself and within others.
I named this project Anastasia because of its connotations. Commonly embedded in the context of the famous Russian princess, it’s a blown-out (often incorrect) microscopic moment in Russia’s history. Here I’m exploring the modern Anastasia and her city in its modern state of being; its shapes, its colours, its forms and moods.
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All photographs by Victoria Paul. 2016.