During the 1990’s Russia went through an enormous economic, social and political transition following the dissolution of the USSR. These events marked the end of an era and brought people into the new world of uncertainty. Visual artist Lise Sarfati, who was living in Russia throughout this decade, gave us a rare opportunity to delve into the lives of these people.
Sarfati grew up in Nice, France, graduated in from Sorbonne in 1979 with a thesis on Russian photography. From 1989 to 1998 she lived in Russia, taking photographs in Moscow, Norilsk, and Vorkuta. Lise managed to skillfully capture the raw and unpolished reality of the Russian youth. Her images are full of visual drama, crumbling buildings, disturbing poverty and abandoned factories straight out of a horror movie set. Subjects vary from little children smoking cigarettes to young transsexuals and teenage runaways interned in ‘re-education’ camps.
43 of Lise’s photographs were featured in her first book, Acta Est. Her work is a powerful historical record of post- Soviet Russia, showing the kind of life we never see in history books. It’s a unique visual perspective of human existence living through a huge social upheaval and shift of political regime, the likes of which has rarely been recorded so vividly. Scroll down to see Lise’s gritty and hard-hitting images for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments below.