Even today, the country Russia continues to be a mystery to many, despite open borders and its progressive society. The shroud may have remained due to its Soviet past, but esteemed Moscow-based photographer Frank Herfort tries to unveil the country as a portrait for the 21st century.
Russia's history is a complex one. Since its beginning, the country has been set apart from all of Europe, having its own unique set of culture, principles, and ideology, semi-influenced by the East. Russia, after all, is at the unique location of having best of both worlds from Europe and Asia.
Hence, even today, past murdered tzars, fallen empires, battled wars, Russia is likened to the Firebird (the Slavic counterpart of the Greek Phoenix). It never fails to rise again from the ashes. However, many of us remain kept from how Russians and Russian lives go by, most especially in the 21st century. A fine line between cautious doubt and presumptions. Here, Frank takes us closer to the heart. Russia as a modern country.
The photographer has taken the role of capturing the recent times. In his photographs, one can infer how much myth and icon merge into society. Quite honestly, the icons of Russia from historical to contemporary, remain visible -- from the Slavic architecture, textiles, and patterns, the bear, furry coats and boots, to the babushka and the nuclear plants -- all of them are familiar symbols that seem to weave themselves into the contemporary narrative, iconography and myth. The photographs are unconscious of such symbolisms, but that's what makes Herfort's "Russian Fairytales".