Ideal cities

The question of the previous post on how an earlier generation of photographers wanted to present their Moscow was replied by Balázs Rafael by sending us a link to the following pictures published by English Russia. There you read that they show Moscow in the 60s, but English Russia, as usually, confounds everything without naming its sources. These pictures were dumped together from a number of sources, with a dozen of duplicates and with many buildings that did not exist before the 80s. Nevertheless, there is something common in the atmosphere of these images: in spite of their intentional representativeness they are more relaxed and more personal than, for example, the above “official” pack of twelve postcards on Moscow that were sold everywhere at that time.

The last motif leads over to the next series. If these images idealized Moscow as a well-arranged flower garden, the series by Valkorn rather follows a “flower on the ruin” ideal, much more characteristic of contemporary Russian photographers, which in the midst of devastation still tries to find the traces of a former beauty.

“We run a merry erotic room”

A third kind of the ideal city is when destruction itself becomes cozy and a source of beauty; to follow the horticultural metaphor, like some unique and marvelous underground vegetation. The photographer is afraid lest this should disappear as well, because then the impersonal and megalomaniac building blocks of the all-devouring construction business will occupy their place.

“The worst thing one can do with this city: to renovate it”

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