German photographer Frank Herfort has spent over a decade photographing the insides of various public spaces throughout Russia—spaces that, incidentally, are lacking a public. An architectural photographer by trade, Herfort’s personal work pays homage to the old-fashioned, Stainlist decor that still consumes many Russian interiors. Yet Herfort’s work brings a modern twist, seemingly imported from the outside, that eradicates markers of time or context and persuades the viewer to create their own narrative.
Herfort’s previous body of work, “Imperial Pomp” (selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards 2014), shows a different side to Russia—a hyper-modern terrain that boasts intimidating skyscrapers and a vanguard mentality. The booming, modern external world intensifies the unsettled feeling that comes over the viewer as we witness the apparent bewilderment—and isolation—of the people in “Russian Fairy Tales.” It appears that they are seeking refuge from the looming modernization within the comforting, antiquated remnants of the past.
The surrealist aesthetic denies journalistic fact, yet Herfort successfully captures a bemusement that is shared by members of Russia’s general public. What’s more, he conceptually demonstrates the psychological effects that environments have on their inhabitants. Continue reading.