Anaïs Nin: “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
It’s a nice feeling to relive travel memories. My “Weekend Away in Moscow” was published in this month’s Oryx Magazine for Qatar Airways. If you’re not traveling on the airline in September, you can take a read of the snapshot here:
“At 867 years of age, Moscow shows no signs of slowing down. Rather, the sprawling metropolis is an energetic international hub, buzzing with 12 million residents and ranking second in the global billionaire stakes. This fascinating city is a melange of glitz, glamour, and a rich cultural heritage.” Read more: weekend away – Magnificent Moscow – Europe – Oryx In-Flight Magazine.
These pictures will make sense after you’ve read the piece.
The cobblestoned Red Square
Red Square x 2
The 19th-century premium shopping mall, GUM
New Tretyakov Gallery, housed in the Central House of Artists
Art in New Tretyakov: The New Moscow (1937) by Yuri Pimenov
Gorky Park and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art run by Dasha Zhukova
This long weekend marks the end of the summer (not technically) in the USA. With some spare hours, I hope to pick up the camera and become a tourist. Obviously, it’s easier to do so when on holidays… Oh, Happy Labour Day!
My sister took this photo of me in St Petersburg, Russia.
Being a Leo, I have a penchant for photographing lions wherever I go. This one is guarding the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; rebuilt based on the original which was destroyed in 1931. Unbelievably, before its resurrection in 2000, the site was home to the largest open air swimming pool.
If you’ve scheduled a cruise along the Moscow River, you’re likely to come across Luzhkov Bridge — a pedestrian walkway lined with iron trees decorated in hundreds of love locks. Apparently this area is a popular backdrop for wedding photos but the only people I saw posing under the blazing sun were snap-happy tourists.
Whatever the season, it is a very cool sight to see. You can get there on foot, about a twenty-minute walk from the Kremlin; by metro; or by chance, as I discovered it after visiting the nearby Tretyakov Gallery.
As with all things last minute, paperwork processing delays had me push my trip to Russia back by a week. This meant I missed touring Moscow with my mum and sister; instead tacking it on after our sojourn in St Petersburg. Alas, I travelled solo.
I have a soft spot for Moscow. The capital moves at a faster pace than St Petersburg, which is located an easy four hour train ride away on the speedy Sapsan. She buzzes like New York but her grand squares and wide boulevards allow breathing room to appreciate the vast historic surrounds.
Some of my most memorable moments were spent gazing through hotel windows and strolling by the Moscow River, listening to the sounds of the city while watching the sun set way past its usual bedtime.
I met my mum and sister in St Petersburg, Russia, just as June rolled into July; when the glorious White Nights were are their peak. The sun hardly slept — sometimes it napped under a blanket of clouds — and when the moon showed its face, it shone as bright as a beacon. The historic city was always illuminated and teeming with life, but its wide open spaces allowed for pause and reflection. I was awake throughout.
St Isaac’s Cathedral
View of Hotel Astoria and St Isaac’s Square from the cupola of St Isaac’s Cathedral
Pigeons at Alexander Nevsky Monastery
The grand Petrodvoretz, the Tsar’s Summer Palace
On the birch tree-lined fringes of the Gulf of Finland at Petrodvorets, the Tsar’s Summer Palace
Boating along the canals
Me, dwarfed by the palatial Hermitage, the Winter Palace of every Tsar and Tsarina since Catherine the Great
Midsummer night light streaming through at 10pm at Petro Palace Hotel
I read an interesting article in New York magazine by Jerry Saltz titled, “Photographing Through The Cracks: Garry Winogrand captured America as it split wide open.” It discusses an exhibition of the street photographer’s work currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The last paragraph stood out because it made me think about the future of art; the formal study of photography; the role of curator; and social media’s role in propelling a new generation of self-taught photographers. Here’s the quote:
“The whole world is now filled with incredible images–especially on Instagram and other social networks–that owe something to Winogrand’s, documenting life, change, and all the rest. Yet the art world and museums are not. Instead they tend to show oversize, very still pictures or images that investigate formal properties and ideas of display and presentation. I love many of those pictures, but what’s happening online on social media deserves far more serious scrutiny than it’s getting. If the art world doesn’t admit more of this sort of deceptively casual-seeming work, the outside world will reject more so-called art photography than it already does. That’s a divide that we don’t need to reestablish and widen.”
St. Isaac’s Cathedral, photographed in July during a trip to St Petersburg (on an angle with a Nikon and prime lens. I should add that my sister took amazing photos of the same cupola with an iPhone.).