cover image Russia: Beyond Utopia

Russia: Beyond Utopia

, , foreword by Boris Fishman. . Chronicle, $40 (120pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-4322-5

This catalogue of 120 photographs documenting the traces that the Soviet Union left on Russia's landscape paints a rainbow-hued portrait of a somber country. The pictures of subway stations and airports, bridges and monuments and, above all, architectural interiors burst with vivid blues, reds, yellows and greens. Moore has a knack for framing shots that suggest the faded glory of yesterday's heroes, like a replica of an 18th-century statue of Peter the Great positioned next to a BMW and a neglected bust of Lenin next to a chained bear cub. A photo from the Fossil Room of St. Petersburg State University functions as a metaphor for the whole book: in it, lovingly displayed souvenirs of an extinct world exude a strange, warm beauty. All of the pictures were shot after 2000, and most of them focus on landscapes or objects, but occasionally Moore includes everyday people going about their lives. A few are of adolescents falling in love or getting married, while others show adults in their daily work. Yet the spaciousness of the interiors and landscapes that these men and women inhabit dwarfs their intimate human dramas and hints at the weight of history that is their burden. A short commentary by Fishman (Wild East ), as well as notes by the photographer at the end of the book, give some context to these striking images. (Nov.)