© Evgeny Asmolov/AFP
Russian homeless pose for a picture at a shelter in the center of St. Petersburg. Armed with disposable cameras provided by the local Put Domoi newspaper, six homeless people roamed the streets to produce some 150 photographs for the 'Eyes from the Street' exhibition, also presented at an exhibition.
Homeless capture another side of Saint Petersburg in photo exhibition
SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia (AFP) - An exhibition of photographs by homeless people in Saint Petersburg has opened to the public here, giving a gritty view of life for the down-and-out in Russia's former imperial capital.
Armed with disposable cameras provided by the local Put Domoi (Way Home) newspaper, six homeless people aged between 30 and 79 roamed the streets for four months to produce some 150 photographs for the "Eyes from the Street" exhibition, showing at the downtown Urban Sculpture museum.
"I photographed my daily life, what I see every day," said 65-year-old former geologist Anatoly Benben, one of the contributors.
His images, such as a homeless friend slumped in front of the celebrated Mariinsky theater, include the familiar sites of Saint Petersburg, once the glittering capital of imperial Russia, stripped of post-card prettiness.
"One day I came home and it was gone -- my wife had left and sold the apartment," recalled Benben, who said he had been living on the street and in homeless shelters for a decade.
"But I'm not angry at her. It's hard to live with someone like me - I'm too independent, and there was vodka too, naturally."
Russia's second largest city has up to 12,000 homeless among its five million inhabitants, according to local non-governmental agency Nochlezhka.
Back in Soviet times the criminal code prescribed prison terms for vagabonds and "parasites", and most ended up in jail. But since the fall of communism in 1991, with the massive social upheavals it entailed, most homeless people have been left to survive on the streets.
Kolya Gerasimov, 30, was lucky enough to find a shelter which he has lovingly chronicled in the exhibition - the yard, the stairs, the kitchen - all captured in meticulous detail.
"This is my home - I feel good here," the thin young man explained. "Before it was hard."
Nochlezhka director Maxim Yegorov said he hoped the exhibition would open people's eyes, not only to the hardships of the homeless but also to other ways of looking at Saint Petersburg.
"For many Petersburgers the homeless are like aliens, but this exhibition will help them to understand better," said .
Yelena Mishkinuk, a 28-year-old Saint Petersburg resident who stopped to see the photographs, said the plight of the artists gave pathos to the images they captured.
"When I look at these photographs I keep in mind that they were taken by homeless people, and it's very moving," she said.
кто-нибудь из питерцев видел выставку?
наверное, подавляющее большинство мужеского советского союза хоть раз в жизни, да не избежало этих сандалей.
богоматерь с воздушным шариком вместо лица.