Sunday, December 23, 2007

Simon Roberts' Motherland

Simon Roberts' wonderful project Motherland explores the identity of contemporary Russia 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Spending an entire year traversing the landscape, Roberts strove to stay away from the stereotypical connotations of Russian poverty and depression, focusing instead on a palpable national optimism for the future. The result is a body of work that is both spontaneous and thoughtful, one that finds its beauty in the cracks of history. Roberts expounds on these notions of beauty in an interview with Jörg Colberg:

I was challenged by what constituted beauty. Russians, in the past at least, have been prepared to admit that their landscapes have lacked the picturesque detail of European vistas. This could equally be applied to rural or city space. Yet they see in these things the tokens of an extraordinary spiritual wealth and are the well-spring of the resilience, energy and spirituality of the Russian people.

From Top To Bottom:

Holidaymakers onboard the Afanasy Nikitin cruise ship. Volga River.Volga, June 2005

Victory Day picnic. Yekaterinburg. Urals, May 2005

The lounge of a former sanitorium. Sludyanka. Eastern Siberia, November 2004

Port officials. Vladivostok. Far East Russia, October 2004

Deflated crocodile. Yekaterinburg. Urals, May 2005

All Images © Simon Roberts