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The Moscow Project

A camera can be a time machine. Through the art of photography, past, present, and future coincide to challenge our concept of time, change, and progress. This has become the backbone of our Moscow portrait series, a collaboration between two photographs spanning two decades. We completed the first installment, a collection of black-and-white portraits, in September 1991, two weeks after the August coup d'tat that contributed to the USSR's collapse.

Equipped with a sign explaining in Russian that would we were looking for people to pose for us, we sought out pedestrians between 10 am and 5 pm. Stationing our large format, 4x5-inch folding camera at strategic locations bearing political or cultural significance, we moved each day to cover a new neighborhood or demographic. Just as news headlines failed to truly capture Moscow that year, centers such as Red Square and Gorky Park could not represent the city's human character. However, once pedestirans came into focus before these silent buildings, we began to see a truer face of Moscow. The final 180 portraits included people from all levels and visually defined the capital's hopeful energy.

The outpouring of acclaim this project received merited a second one. We returned ten years later in September 2001 to complete a similar survey. Returning to the same locations, we waited again for volunteers to commit themselves to our record. The differences between passerbys had changed dramatically as a strong rift between rich and poor replaced the previously communal atmosphere of '91.

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