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Time in Between: German Photographer Captures Russia Stuck in the USSR

Frank Herfort grew up in the GDR and was curious about the Soviet Union since childhood. When he first came to this country, it was already called Russia. However, soon Frank understood that he wasn’t too late.

Frank Herfort

German photographer, lives and works in Germany and Russia. Photographs for advertising companies and works with The New York Times, AD, Esquire, Stern, Spiegel, Harper's Bazaar, GEO Germany, Observer, GQ Russia, Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets. Has received awards from LensCulture, Hasselblad, International Photography Awards, British Journal of Photography and many others.

I first visited Russia in 2000 or 2001. I felt quite comfortable and curious at the same time with that country. I was born in the GDR and had a sort of similar Soviet childhood and maybe that’s why I feel quite natural here. But my first photo attempts in Russia started in winter 2005/06 in Moscow.

I traveled a lot through countries like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the Baltics states, but actually most of the time
I spent in Moscow. This is for me the most vibrant hotspot in the world.

I never could see the USSR, but my mother told me stories from her German-Soviet “friendship tours” to the Baikal Sea. I came too late, and the country was already called Russia.

But in some corners of the country — in a lot of corners — I had a feeling nothing really changed compared to the Soviet times. In remote areas with small villages I could see a totally “time-stand-still” scenario.

I’m always looking for the beauty and magic in my photographs. I´m not interested in showing poor or rich, or good or bad. I just show my world with the help of the Russian environment. But I love Russia, and I love Russia for these scenarios.

...in some corners of the country — in a lot of corners — I had a feeling nothing really changed compared to the Soviet times.
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